Chili and celebration were on the menu when Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission’s Truro drop-in centre held a grand opening.
The centre, in the basement of the former Turning Point Church building, fed dozens of people as it marked the opening on Monday.
“I was sitting here watching as everyone was filing in, and it was very emotional,” said Michelle Porter, executive director of Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission. “There’s a real down-home feeling here. Some people baked cake or corn bread and just showed up to add them to the meal. There’s a lot of community spirit.”
Michelle and Ken Porter founded Soul’s Harbour while living in Regina in 2000. Ten years later they moved to Halifax and opened another centre. In 2016, a satellite drop-in centre opened in Bridgewater.
“I don’t think we realize how many people there are who need a sense of community,” said Michelle. “This has grown more than I expected, and that’s because there’s a need.
“I’m really impressed by this space. It’s incredible, and much was donated or done at cost.”
The centre can serve about 50 people at a time and is open for two-hour periods most weekday afternoons.
Steve Lumsden brought the building to the attention of the Porters, feeling it would be an ideal location for a drop-in centre. Before it opened, he and a couple of others had been handing out sandwiches on the street.
“It’s been a dream to give back,” he said. It’s a big thing to give back to your community and to see the support that comes out.”
Lumsden is manager of the centre, and his wife, Connie, helps prepare and serve food.
People who want to drop by for a meal, to socialize, or to volunteer are welcome.
Truro Soul’s Harbour
Location: 130 King St., through the back door
Hours: 1-3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
Gospel message: 2 p.m. – about 10 minutes in length
Holiday closure: Christmas Day through Jan. 2
Christmas dinner: Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission is partnering for Christmas at the Café, providing Christmas dinner at the Truro Farmers’ Market on Dec. 25. Doors open at 2 p.m. and dinner is served at 4 p.m.