Corporate Social Initiative - Souper Troopers
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How It Began
In June 2014, Kerry Hoffman spent a day sharing soup and sandwiches with people living on the street. This relaxed social gathering – and the regular monthly social events that followed for the next five years, helped us understand the complexity of homelessness and the inadequacies of the existing interventions. The early years cemented Souper Troopers in the social capital of the streets with our ethos of dignity, love and respect and taught us that each person on the street had their own story and needed individualised support to move forward.
What Souper Troopers Does
Souper Troopers helps homeless people take the steps necessary to make sustainable changes in their lives. Those homeless people who come to us wanting to change their lives are Troopers. We operate The Humanity Hub (in collaboration with Mini Meltdown, Ladles of Love, and Community Chest), a service centre at which we address the holistic needs of a human being, starting with the most basic needs (like clothes, food, toiletries) and working through a full range of services (including counselling, skills training, medical referrals, family mediation, job preparation, creative workshops, micro entrepreneurial opportunities).
During the COVID lockdown that started in March 2020 we marshalled all of our resources and contacts to fundraise for soup kitchens and community feeding schemes across the Western Cape, raising over R1m to support over 150 organisations and individuals feeding the poor in their communities. We are so grateful to the many donors who trusted us to deliver much-needed relief to hundreds of thousands of South Africans left devastated by the lockdown. We continue to support 5 feeding schemes thanks to specific donors who fund these kitchens on an ongoing basis.
How They Do It
Our overarching ethos is DIGNITY, LOVE & RESPECT in all that we do. Our psycho-social development model involves our experienced fieldwork team working with each trooper individually using our CAST model: CONNECT | ASSESS | SUPPORT | TRANSFORM.
We have recently received funding to employ 25 troopers who are on their CAST journey, enabling us to work with them daily on their paths to independence. This newly launched Souper Squad project pays each team member a stipend to work on projects for communities and institutions needing help to improve their neighbourhoods and facilities – think gardening, painting, clean ups, makeovers, youth engagement … the possibilities are endless.
Part of the Souper Squad program includes compulsory group workshops, creative outlets like art and music, skills training, and other activities aimed at preparing them for their future working lives. As part of their transformation, these Troopers have an opportunity to step up and improve life for others, uplifting themselves at the same time. They learn skills, gain experience, take personal responsibility, and forge relationships – all crucial aspects of their CAST journey – while building their CVs to ensure future independence.
Where They Do It
The Humanity Hub is situated on the ground floor of the Community Chest Building at 82 Bree Street and is open beneficiaries by appointment on Mondays and Thursdays from 8.30–3. This is the address at which we accept donations of clothing, shoes, toiletries, non-perishable food, and any other household items.
We are so grateful to Community Chest for accommodating us in their premises.
We are all human. We all have a story. Together we are the change.
For more info please visit www.soupertroopers.org