It was an afternoon of socialising and giving of thanks when Glenda Roberts-Henry celebrated her 10th anniversary in volunteer work, sharing soup with the needy and less fortunate persons in various communities across Tobago.
Roberts-Henry, who operates a soup kitchen in Bon Accord, hosted senior citizens, aged 60 and over, from across Tobago at the event held at the Tobago Nutrition Co-operative Society, Canaan on September 21.
Feature speaker at the event, Pastor Cuthbert Gordon, encouraged the seniors to live their lives purposefully and enjoyably in spite of challenges they may face.
“As you face the various challenges which accompany the aging process such as feelings of loneliness, immobility and sometimes pains, you might be tempted to give up, but you need to be strong and learn how to encourage yourself and be happy. One of the ways that you can be happy is by finding a way to give back to society. In the words of a famous song, “the way to be happy is to make others happy …” It is only by doing this, will you find real happiness and fulfillment in your life. Life can have meaning and can be enjoyed instead of endured,” Gordon said.
“As you sometimes become increasingly haunted by thoughts of your own mortality, you need to remember to set your house in order, firstly by ensuring that you prepare a will and secondly by submitting yourselves to God,” he added.
Roberts-Henry, in her welcome address, said that she was pleased with the progress of the soup kitchen, giving special thanks to her helpers, her husband Francis Henry Snr, and her two friends, Gloria Black and Bernard Henry, who helped ensure soups were delivered to the recipients on time, using their own vehicles.
“I thank God for giving me the health, strength and wisdom that I needed to continue with this soup kitchen. I also give special thanks to all of my helpers and supporters who stood by me in the times when I needed them the most. There was a point in my life when I was faced with the tough decision of whether to send my son to university or continue with the soup kitchen. But I thank God that even in these situations he came through for me by providing the finances that I needed so that I was able to do both,” Roberts-Henry said.
She said there were times persons told her she should sell the soup rather than give it for free. “When I first started my soup kitchen, my intention was to provide soup to the needy, free of charge, therefore I
do not have any intentions to sell it now or in the future. I will continue to do so until I have passed on,” she said.
Roberts-Henry started her soup kitchen, a self-supported initiative, on September 20, 2007, when she saw the many persons who were going through their everyday live without having a proper meal to eat.
She said she had grown up seeing her mother always cooking extra to share with neighbours and anyone who would pass by in need of a meal. Out of the country when her mother died, Roberts-Henry said the one item she collected when she came home was a pot her mother had lent to a relative.
She said one day, when she opened her kitchen cupboard, something inside me said “but this pot could make a good soup boy! Glenda, why don’t you cook soup and give to the needy in the community? You can cook good soup.”
She said her husband and son encouraged her to go ahead with her plan.
“This encouragement together with the love that I had for my mother and my desire to carry on her tradition of cooking food and sharing it with others, I decided that I would obey that inner voice and do what I wanted to do,” she said.