VICTORIA -- After 38 years of teaching music, Rosemary has learned the piano is more than just a tool for creativity. 

“It bridges gaps too, with people whom words won’t help,” Rosemary says. 

When Rosemary heard hurtful words being hurled at her new neighbours living in tents in the park across the street, she felt like she needed to something. But her piano couldn’t possibly be carried over to make it better.

“I thought I could make cookies at least,” she smiles. 

So Rosemary inquired about delivering cookies and happened to meet another retired woman named Allison who lived across from another park who also wanted to help. 

“They had received a lot of baked good,” Allison recalls telling Rosemary. “So I said, ‘How about soup?’”

Allison had been making soup for people in need for the past three months. When I met her, she was pulling her big pot in the back of a wagon from tent to tent.

Rosemary accepted Allison’s invitation to make soup and took her large pot filled with donated ingredients back home. 

“I was a bit nervous at the beginning,” Rosemary says. “I’d never done such a big pot before.”

But she had made meals for her family for years, and missed having people to take care of, so she gave it a go. 

“You just shove things in and hope for the best!” she laughs.

Allison says that Rosemary’s soup was such a hit, and so appreciated by the people who received it, she wondered if the idea could grow. 

“I kept asking people to make soup,” Allison smiles. “Now I think I have 24 people who have signed up to make soup!”

Allison says that these people — strangers of various ages, from different backgrounds, living in diverse neighbourhoods — are now part of a “soup chain.” 

“I really hope it gives the people who make the soup a sense of satisfaction.” Allison says. “And gratification that they’ve been able to contribute to the community.”

Rosemary says she’s made three pots of soup for the chain so far. Today, she’s supplemented her minestrone with sandwiches and garlic bread. 

“I’m glad I’ve done it,” Rosemary smiles. “I think they’ve enjoyed it too.”

As Allison delivers the soup from tent to tent in the park, Rosemary may return to the piano in her apartment. t seems that practising kindness, like making music, has the ability to nourish the soul.