A place to gather regardless of situation: Purple Door builds on soup kitchen

HUMBOLDT — An effort to provide a welcoming environment to all in need is also a way to honour two important volunteers with the Humboldt Soup Kitchen.

For James Folster, the Purple Door became a way to carry on the legacy of Audrey Struck and Brody Hinz, who both died in 2018.

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The Purple Door is held on Mondays and Fridays at the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Hall for coffee and a visit, no matter their circumstances or denomination. For some, these are extra days where they can get out of the house and go visit friends and meet new people outside of the regular Tuesday evening soup kitchen get-together.

“It’s just another place that people can come, hang out, and feel welcome regardless of whatever situation, no questions asked,” Folster said.

Both the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church and Humboldt’s Seventh Day Adventist Church have teamed up to help run the Purple Door. Ron Marshall, the Adventist Church’s pastor, sees people’s need for companionship, especially in those who already use the soup kitchen.

“They need another day of the week where people can come together in order to meet that need because a lot of people, they go home and they’re by themselves. A lot of times we are unaware of it.”

For Rev. Matteo Carboni, there was no question on whether the Anglican church would host the Purple Door. His church vestry jumped at the opportunity to provide this service to all those who needed a place to gather, he said.

“It’s in a good location, it’s in the middle of town, but also the church can be a place that offers safe space for anyone. Sometimes that is not always the case, but St. Andrew’s is a very welcoming community.”

Part of the vision when Folster and Carboni started talking about starting the Purple Door was a place that filled not only the social needs of people but a place where people feel supported in other ways, Carboni said.

“[It’s] not just a place to come for coffee but a place that, whatever they’re needing in their life, we can try to figure out solutions to any sort of problems they’re having.”

Marshall and Carboni provide that support through pastoral support but also invited counsellors from Partners Family Service to come and provide their services and visit with people, as well as a member of the Micah Mission in Saskatoon who comes down once a month to provide support.

Marshall said that even he needs someone to talk to from time to time, and the Purple Door provides a great outlet for himself and others.

“I’ve been able to just voice my concerns and I’ve always had an ear to come to and have people to talk to. That’s an environment that this community needs.”

Material support has also come in from across the Humboldt community as well, Folster said, with enough coffee supplies to last six months and dessert items at the ready every week.

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