Randy Kakegamick in the Mamidosewin Centre, enjoying soup. Photo credit: Kate Playfair

Algonquin College is offering free soup lunches at the Mamidosewin Centre every Wednesday, where students can eat and connect with others.

The Soup Lunch event, introduced for the first time in October 2022, is an opportunity for students and staff to get a hot meal and connect with each other. Hot, homemade soup provided by the catering services at the Ottawa campus is prepared every Wednesday from Jan. 18 to Feb. 22.

“I think anytime you have food involved it kind of, you know, breaks down those social barriers,” said Randy Kakegamick, 45, a second-year television and broadcasting student. “People get more comfortable around each other. And that’s the big thing about the culture that I’m from, being Indigenous myself, we tend to bring food to a lot of events that we hold, like powwows and round dances, there’s always a food element.”

“I’m trying to connect with my Indigenous roots,” said Koda Hann, 20, an animation student. Hann became involved in the Mamidosewin Centre to become more involved with her culture.

The Mamidosewin Centre has provided services and programs for Indigenous students at Algonquin College for over 20 years. It prepares several events and resources to aid Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students who are interested in the culture or events. The Soup Lunch is one of the events accessible to all students.

“Food brings people in and creates a sense of community,” said Leah Grimes, the former events and activity representative for the Mamidosewin Centre who just moved on from her position and will be replaced next week. “We want to give students the opportunity to connect with one another [and] to invite students into the centre who may not have visited before.”

The events and activities at the Mamidosewin Centre only started to pick up in 2022. The Soup Lunch, off-campus activities, and more were not previously available to students due to the pandemic.

“Everything is pretty new,” said Kakegamick “There was not a lot of programming here before September. During the lockdowns, there wasn’t a lot going on here. There was people in the office, I was here last year for a little bit, but in terms of holding any kind of events like this it was kind of few and far between.”

This week’s soup was a vegan mushroom soup, provided with bread rolls, butter, juice, and dry snacks. There will be a different soup every week.

For more information on the Mamidosewin Centre, visit its website at https://www.algonquincollege.com/mamidosewin/. For the complete event calendar for the 2023 winter semester, visit the Algonquin College Events Calendar at https://www.algonquincollege.com/studentsupportservices/events/.