Keeping the dream alive

Salvation Army still working on building a 24/7 homeless shelter in Cranbrook.

Despite its status as an ongoing project for many years, the Salvation Army still has the vision of opening 24/7 shelter in Cranbrook.

And while the Kootenay Granite Stone Soup challenge won’t necessarily raise all the money for the entire project’s budget, it’s still helps keep the dream alive.

The challenge, which has pitted local chefs in Cranbrook and Kimberley against each other in a friendly Master Chef-style showdown, is a fundraiser for the 24/7 shelter project as well as an endowment fund with the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation.

While the CDCF provides a great service to the community with their grant program, which is a result of their endowment funds—the Stone Soup Challenge has helped raise the profile of the Salvation Army’s commitment to building a 24/7 shelter.

But the Salvation Army provides more than just emergency shelter services, says Captain Kirk Green.

“We had a whole ton of people in the building who didn’t realize how big the soup kitchen was, how many people we serve, that we have a dental clinic, that we have laundry services and shower services and a food bank and all of that,” said Green. “So now there are a lot of people in the community who now know that and you can’t put a price tag on that.

“That’s priceless.”

With a total of seven chefs participating, two would go head-to-head in the Salvation Army soup kitchen, both creating soups that would be voted on by the Salvation Army clientele. The winning chef then moved on to the next round.

The finale was recently held at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort, where Chef Chef Shelby Schiller and the Salvation Army’s own cook, Kathy Morey, duked it out for bragging rights and the title.

Outside of the competition, the soup kitchen is open daily and lunch is served Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for 50 cents. Wednesday is a community supper that includes a three-course sit-down meal.

Even outside of lunch or dinner, the kitchen is open for baked goods and coffee as a place to stay warm, adds Green.

“We are open as much as we can, it’d be beautiful to be open seven days a week, but in this — the way the building is set up and staffing—we just can’t do it and that’s why we need a shelter facility which would be open seven days a week,” Green said.

Currently, the shelter is in a redesign process and Green is working on getting more capital funding.

“Next month we have a meeting with [BC Housing] Minister Rich Coleman in Victoria to again, put forth our case and discuss possibilities and budgets, so it isn’t a dead issue,” said Green.

“This is us doing what we can to keep it alive and to continue to raise money and awareness towards that project.”