From our Community Kitchen Coordinator, Simeon:
Each week, over the sounds and smells of an active kitchen, I hear the stories – stories whose affects last long after the food is gone. They are stories of life, living closely together, the struggles of keeping health or the fight against isolation, and the bountiful opportunities for care and support that seem so attractive, and all too common, if we just had the time…
Over the past 12 months, I have been lucky to have the time to hear these stories of peace and those who promote it and I have grown to admire the “news roundups” – something that I have affectionately come to call “The Rupert Report.”
The Rupert Report comes together with the preparation of lunch from the trickle of Beulah Garden residents that attend this senior’s Community Kitchen (CK), which is hosted in the Rupert Residence. Every other week, when the CK convenes, participants share news of those who are currently too frail to attend appointments or catch the bus by themselves to get groceries. Solutions are offered, right there and then, to these common problems that beset the elderly who live alone.
As we chop vegetables and stir broth, I hear exclamations of delight, as neighbours report the delivery of food to neighbours returning from family travels weary and yet to fill the pantry. I hear the list of who is in or out of hospital and where and when visiting times are scheduled. The Rupert Community Kitchen in reality, is hub of sharing – a time, not just for eating, but for meeting and organising around the needs and wants of fellow residents – whether they come to the CK or not.
Each and every one of these Rupert Residents are seasoned individuals from a diversity of family backgrounds and rich life histories who come together out of the shared need for one another and for the camaraderie and social interaction that we all seek with our neighbours and those in need around us (in this case around the dining table!)
Whether they realise it or not, the members of the CK have formed deeper relationships over the year, that reach back into their shared place of residence. Not only is food brought forth from these stories, but reflection of the shalom we seek when two or three gather together and I am blessed and reminded of this peace every time I attend and listen to the Rupert Report. The hope is that this kind of interpersonal love and care spreads throughout the Beulah Gardens community and beyond!
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’” – The Message
Rupert’s Community Kitchen was established in the Summer of 2014 as a social initiative in partnership with Beulah Garden Homes Chaplain, Mary Dickau. Under the continuing mentorship of our Community Kitchen Coordinator, Simeon Pang, a group of residents from the Rupert Building have grown in confidence as they share the responsibility of suggesting menu ideas, selecting recipes, prepping and cooking with one another, accompanying one another to and from the kitchen, as well as developing more stable relationships outside of the CK, within their own building complex. The CK is part of a raft of community-building activities organised around the Rupert Building to encourage and build social interaction and strength through relationships.