With the smell of delicious soup and bannock filling the air, the grand opening of the Xqwiyélltśem (sounds like wi-yell-sum) Community Soup Hut at Shuswap Middle School (SMS) was held on November 6.
Knowledge keeper Pauline Saxy from Northern Secwepmec territory opened with a traditional song, Tim Lavery from city council, and Assistant Superintendent Ryan Brennan from SD83 were in attendance with words of well wishes for the kids, community and all who came to gather.
The soup hut is overseen by Theresa Johnson and Chelsey Beckman from SMS’s Indigenous Education team and ran by the students in Olson/Nash’s class. For the grand opening chicken noodle soup was on the menu and enjoyed by many in the school.
The Secwepmec name Xqwiyélltśem, means “to enjoy every morsel of a meal”. The group collective running the program believes this is especially true when people gather to cook, serve, and eat with community.
“This is what Indigenous principles of reciprocity look like in action. The kids are learning new skills through experience and with the involvement of multiple generational knowledge. Wonderful things happen when we gather together in service of one another. In addition we are practicing environmental stewardship by washing reusable bowls or inviting kids to bring their own from home,” comments Theresa.
Once a week there will be nutritious soup available for a suggested donation of $2 and students who don’t have access to nutritious food can have it for free. Students prepare, cook, clean, host, and account for the daily duties of the soup hut learning leadership and fundamental business skills.
The ingredients for the soup are locally-sourced. The Metis association is sponsoring one week but the group is still looking for three $60 monthly sponsorships to fund the protein portions of their soups. If you are interested in being part of this initiative, please contact Theresa 250-832-6031 ext. 145. This program aims to meet the needs of every member in our community – feel free to join us any Wednesday at lunch!