Unsung Heroes: Kamloops' Stone Soup saviours

·3 min read

A small group of volunteers is making a big difference in the lives of Kamloops’ homeless population.

Since Oct. 1, community food service and outreach group Stone Soup Collective has been delivering meals, clothing and survival gear to people living on the streets.

The initiative was started by Tammy and Chad Croissant, who own RiverCity Gymnastics in Southgate.

The couple is aided by three other volunteers — Angela Ward, who prepares most of the meals, Tyler Brown, their evening outreach worker, and Lori Lavoie, who acts as the Collective’s daytime co-ordinator, conducting outreach and connecting the homeless with social services and housing.

Tammy said it is important they have the three volunteers they do because, without the trio, they wouldn’t be able to run the Collective in conjunction with the business they need to operate during the day.

Stone Soup Collective engages with homeless in Kamloops twice a day, seven days a week.

The group has no central location at the moment, using vehicles owned by the Croissants’ business to make deliveries and meet with people on the street.

In addition to the supplies, the group of advocates will also help people with various needs, such as paperwork and online forms, which can be a barrier for homeless individuals in accessing services.

“We have such a big heart for them,” Tammy said.

The initiative is funded primarily by the Croissants, who also receive clothing donations from second-hand stores, buns and bread from the Salvation Army, perishable foods from the Kamloops Food Bank and The Mustard Seed Kamloops. The Collective also receives a small cash donation from a church, which is used to purchase items like tarps, candles and gloves.

“We feel it our privilege and duty to share what we have been blessed with,” Tammy told KTW.

“We are all created equal and have all come from different situations that bring us to where we are. Everyone is working on something. Folks on the street are appreciative and thankful and they tell us all the time, ‘God bless you. You have been a life saver.’”

Tammy said they are hoping to expand the Stone Soup Collective with a facility — either permanent or mobile — that can provide showers and shelter and be a place for the homeless “to be where someone isn’t shuffling them along.”

For most of her life, Tammy said, she was fearful of the homeless and those with addictions — likely, she noted, from the stigmas often placed on them.

However, after launching the Collective, Tammy said she is getting an understanding of people’s myriad situations and is learning more every day.

She said 85 per cent of the people they deal with on a daily basis are friendly and courteous.

“In serving others, we nourish our own soul,” Tammy said. “I feel energized and edified, even after my long day at work.”

The Stone Soup Collective can be contacted via its Facebook page.

Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week

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