Salvation Army Serves Soup, Compassion and Hope, in Thunder Bay

Salvation Army soup van driver standing beside the van with a box full of sandwiches.

After weeks in quarantine, those facing financial insecurity may struggle with expenses such as rent and utilities, often not having enough funds left to provide food for the entire month. The Salvation Army’s soup van in Thunder Bay, Ont., is the city’s only mobile feeding program and has been running for decades. During these challenging times, their community needs them now more than ever.

“We wouldn’t be able to feed our family without this service”

“In normal circumstances, depending on the time of year, we feed 100 to 240 people a night,” says Gail Kromm, community engagement manager. “But now, due to COVID-19, we are averaging 200.” The meal service stops at the south and north end of the city nightly throughout the year, providing hearty soups, sandwiches, drinks and pastries, all while following local health agency guidelines.

For some, visiting the soup van not only provides much-needed nourishment but might be the most interaction they will have in the day. “Several people who access the soup van live in isolated environments,” says Gail. “Talking to our staff and volunteers helps lift their spirits and makes them feel valued.”

Ron Fournier, one of the volunteer drivers, is proud to be making a difference and giving back to those in need. When given the option to stay home, he replied, “I will go no matter what. It is my duty and honour to carry out.”

“We were able to take extra home to have for breakfast the next day”

With help from the community, the Regional Food Distribution Association, and Thunder Bay’s District Social Services Administration Board, The Salvation Army has continued to provide safe access to adequate food resources to neighbours in need.

“The soup van not only provided dinner, but we were able to take extra home to have for breakfast the next day,” says a parent of a family of eight. “We wouldn’t be able to feed our family without this service.”

The Salvation Army continues to provide essential services across Canada throughout the COVID-19 crisis. To donate, visit or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

By Sharifa Campbell-Hogg