While a fully stocked and functioning grocery store on campus is a wonderful resource for the students attending Redeemer, it can be difficult to match supply and demand in such a unique micro-economy. At the end of the academic year, students move out of their dormitories and stop purchasing their groceries at Redeemer’s market. Leftover food abounds.
Nina Schuurman, a fourth year religion and theology student graduating in May, wondered where this food was going. “I approached Student Senate with my questions and they hosted a panel,” she says. “Many other students came out to these panels and the campus began having conversations about food waste.” At the panel it was a representative from Sodexo Canada, Redeemer’s food service provider, who mentioned that some universities donate all of their extra food.
Enter Jon Huxtable, pastor at Parkview Church, a Christian and Missionary Alliance church on West 5th Street, just minutes down the road from Redeemer. “I knew Pastor Jon from my first few years at Redeemer. I volunteered at the soup truck on Wednesday nights,” says Nina. “I gave Pastor Jon’s name to Student Senate, knowing he would gladly accept our donations.”
“Our vision is to give without expecting anything in return.”
The soup truck is just one aspect of Compassion Ministries — Parkview’s charitable organization. The organization houses its own food bank, free income tax preparation for low income families and a clothing, household items and furniture program. Street outreach ministry, which includes the soup truck, ties all of it together.
Typically, over 400 people are served food each week through Compassion’s street outreach teams. “Our vision is to give without expecting anything in return,” says Jon. “All five ministries are driven by God and this vision.” With Redeemer’s donations, Compassion is able to keep serving those on the margins.
“My hope is that food that would otherwise be wasted on campus would continue to be brought to Jon in years to come,” continues Nina. By volunteering at and connecting with a local church, stories and donations like these can become regular occurrences.