For this group of individuals, a birthday party is not about receiving, but giving, and they shared their special day with the city’s homeless and disadvantaged residents.
Souper Troopers' founder Kerry Hoffman was inspired to connect with the most marginalised individuals; people living on the streets. One day of serving soup and sandwiches from an urban pavement to homeless individuals led to a vision that gestures like these could bring about positive change in an increasingly negative space.
“Our organisation has been working for four years now, with 20 to 30 volunteers helping the homeless of about 600 people, however, the number is growing every month,” said Hoffman
Chantel Sampson, 36, has been homeless for two years, and was happy to be among the helpers in the organisation. “People must acknowledge those on the street, they too need love and care, we don’t need money, but we need warmth and love,” she said.
Clavonne Cloete, 32, one of the homeless, shared her story on why she ended up on street.
“Being a drug addict led me to live on the street, we all have our own stories to tell about why we are here. I wish all our stories can be out there and heard,” she said. “All we want is for people to give us time and love.”
Souper Troopers hosts social gatherings every month, a platform to allow homeless individuals to have a space to have some fun and feel human.
Significantly, these events are frequently run together with people on the street. Some help in the kitchen, others give haircuts, and most of the people attending help with keeping an eye out, making sure everything runs smoothly.
Billie Gootkin, a 9-year-old volunteer, wishes to be a fashion designer one day so she can help clothe the homeless, talks about her experience at the Souper Troopers.
"Working at Souper Troopers has been amazing, falling in love with helping the homeless, giving them food, and sharing a word with them gives me life,” she said.
“It is my second year at the Souper Troopers, but I have learnt a lot. I thank my mom for introducing me to this wonderful experience of helping people.
“I wish everyone could come and help the homeless,” said Gootkin.