St. Andrew’s United Church, Cochrane and its minister, Ray Goodship, were both recognised at Cochrane’s Community Awards this spring. Ray Goodship received Citizen of the Year and St. Andrew’s, Cochrane received the Equity and Inclusion Champion of the Year for its Community Lunch Program.
Ray was honoured because of his leadership role in starting the lunch program as well as his other community involvement including chairing Cochrane’s Helping Hands. Part of Helping Hands’ work includes organising two food drives a year for the local food bank.
The congregation’s Souper Tuesday Free lunches began in recent years, says Ray, because, “there was a perceived need around people coming together for a meal, something that is also fairly central it our faith. There is a fair amount of hidden poverty in Cochrane.”
“What we discovered was that people need community and a place to belong more than a meal itself.” Ray says the lunch time meal is a loud one because of the good conversations around the tables with about 50 people coming out each week. As well, in addition to St. Andrew’s volunteers, others in the wider community also pitch in to make the meals happen: the Mayor, the Bahai Community, FCSS and others.