Nourishment comes in many forms and for 36-year-old Lindsey Sesin, it comes in the form of Soupy.
Every Tuesday afternoon Lindsey and her team of happy helpers take over the local RSL hall in the regional WA town of Denmark to run this popular community gathering.
“One of Soupy’s goals is to help eliminate food waste from local producers and from my own fresh produce business,” Lindsey says.
“Everyone donates their time and the food is donated by local producers and local shops. Even backyard gardeners drop off items and if we need extra ingredients I buy them with the $5 voluntary donation that people pay for their soup
“It’s also a way to help feed the homeless and everyone is welcome at Soupy; low income earners, lovers of community, seniors, singles, families and travellers are all invited. We also make soup packs for dropping off to people in need and donate soup to other volunteer groups.”
As many would know, organising a weekly not-for-profit event takes time and lots of it. Lindsey spends around 15 hours every week coordinating rosters, communicating with her team of dedicated volunteers, sourcing ingredients, running the event and, of course, preparing soup.
But Lindsey is certainly not retired and living an idle life so it begs the question as to why this young woman would donate so much effort to supporting others. Part of the answer lies in Lindsey’s background.
“I was born in California and my dad is Lebanese and my mum’s German. We were a small family of just two kids but we lived in a cul-de-sac with about 30 children in it. This created a huge extended family for me – a community, a tribe – and large groups of us would constantly be at each other’s houses sharing meals.”
Lindsey adds that she has a cultural love of food and cooking, fostered by her grandmother, and says cooking has always made her feel comfortable as sharing a meal breaks down barriers and brings people together. It feeds the body and feeds the soul.
“We feed an average of 80 people every week but we’ve also had nights when we’ve fed more than a 100. It’s such a great way to meet people that you may not normally interact with, especially if you’re new to town or travelling through. But you don’t need to mix and mingle if you don’t want to – you can just enjoy the love that’s been poured into a bowl.”
Having served nearly 5,000 bowls of soup since Soupy started nearly 18 months ago, the event has undoubtedly achieved what it set out to do for the community and for Lindsey as well; she’s created a new tribe and new family to be part of.
“People often thank me but really it’s me who’s thankful to them. Without the people who come, without the helpers, the donors and the lovely folks at the RSL there would be no Soupy.
“What I get out of it is far more than I give. It’s not a business; it’s a sense of service and with that comes incredible nourishment.”