Seasonal workers add to Penticton soup kitchen clientele

The last couple of weeks of hot weather has seen an increase in clientele at the Penticton Soupateria, largely due to an influx of seasonal workers to the area.

PENTICTON - It may be summer, but there is no sign of diminishing need at the Penticton Soupateria.

Past President Keray Lavant says the volunteers fed 185 people on Friday, July 3. That’s up from a normal summer day of 160.

“We’re normally cleaned up and out of here by 12:30 p.m., but it’s 1 p.m. today,” he said following lunch on Friday, July 3.

Numbers have been up in the last two weeks, Levant says, noting this year’s fruit crop has been a lucrative one for the pickers.

By far the majority of Soupateria clients on Friday were youths, mostly fruit pickers, Keray believes.

“They are younger than our normal clientele, who are generally middle aged and older. These hot days, they are picking early in the morning, and then again in the early evening,” he says, noting some days are busier than others due to the number of pickers.

Levant says he’s not sure how far afield the pickers are coming from, but notes several have vehicles. Even though the Soupateria is very crowded at lunch, everyone has been well behaved and there haven’t been any issues, Levant says.

Whether the increased numbers were due to the heat or not, Levant couldn’t tell.

“We haven’t had consistent heat like this for some time,” he says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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