Soupateria keeps people fed in challenging times
Soupateria keeps people fed in challenging times

Soupateria keeps people fed in challenging times

The Penticton Soupateria Society has been providing meals to individuals in need since 1985. For the past 20 years, those meals have been served from their location at the corner of Martin Street and Orchard Avenue. The Soupateria operates 365 days a year, making sure many of Penticton’s most vulnerable citizens have something nourishing to eat each day. 

According to the Soupateria’s Kitchen Manager, Carina Hakanson, the program served more than 32,804 lunches in 2023. This was a 10.5 % increase over 2022, which in turn was a 12.5% increase over 2021. The high demand has continued into 2024, with several days in January where over 100 lunches were served. 

Unfortunately, it has become difficult to find enough donated food to support the growing demands on the program. Donations of meat proteins — a key ingredient in the soups and sandwiches the program traditionally serves — have been particularly hard to come by. As a result, buying food for the Soupateria is now a normal, and increasingly costly occurrence. In 2023, the program received a Community Foundation grant to help with food purchases and equipment repairs. 

In addition to buying food, there are other costs that did not exist just a few years ago. Since their transition from a “sit-down” to a “takeaway” model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of take-out containers has become a regular budget item for the program. For example, Carina estimates the cost of a take-out soup bowl, lid and spoon can add 45 cents to each lunch that is served. 

Despite many challenges, the Soupateria Society continues to fulfill a critical role in Penticton’s food security landscape. And that would not be possible without the dedicated work of many volunteers. “People volunteer with us in part because it provides them with immediate gratification that they are making a positive difference in the lives of those who need help,” says Wayne Hakanson, Board Vice President. “We really appreciate their time and their dedication to our program.”  

To learn more about the Penticton Soupateria Society, or to make a donation to support their work, visit  

Soupateria volunteers sharing smiles from the program’s kitchen