NASSAU, BAHAMAS — One in every three people in The Bahamas face some level of food insecurity, according to Hands for Hunger.
An article published by the Borgen Project, explains that food insecurity impacts school-aged children and their ability to learn. Initiatives such as the National Lunch Program and the Hands for Hunger Summer Camp Feeding Program have made it their mission to combat the kids’ hunger crisis in The Bahamas.
Chef Simeon Hall Jr. joined in with the fight by partnering with Hands for Hunger and Elijay’s Hilltop Camp, to feed the Kemp Road Community Kids along with children from the Yellow Elder Summer Camp via a pop-up soup kitchen.
“Hands for Hunger are known to be the most reputable food recovery and distribution non-
profit on the island so it was an honor to work with them,” said Hall Jr.
“And the only thing that can beat feeding the less fortunate is feeding kids. This warmed my heart even more.”
Hall Jr explained that Hiram’s pop-up soup kitchen was hosted to honor his friend, whom he affectionately calls his brother, who passed away from lung cancer.
“My brother and sous chef and I started doing this (soup kitchen) about 5 years ago so it seemed an amazing way to honor our 8 years together.”
This soup kitchen tradition started as a way for Hiram to give back to the community that he was once a part of. Hall explained that Hiram faced his share of challenges and at one point he became homeless.
“He was one of the kindest persons I ever met and he opened my eyes to truly being kind to the less fortunate. To that end, one-week several years ago we decided to randomly make a large pot of soup, go by the foot of the old bridge and give away soup. We did it at our own expense but when the word got out many of my supporters begged to help next time. So we started taking donations and the Hiram’s Soup Kitchen Pop Up was born.”
This tribute to a friend translated into kids enjoying warm bowls of Bahamian dumpling soup, local vegetable and ham soup, and vegan split peas and local vegetable soup, all prepared by Hall and his assistant Derek Sawyer.
Hall explains that being aware of persons in the community having limited access to food is disheartening and so he commits to hosting a soup kitchen every quarter. He also hopes to discourage the wasting of food by encouraging its donation, ‘one plate at a time’.
“If we all could cut down on spoilage and donate a plate of food to someone in need every time we cook imagine how much we could do in our communities,” he said
Hall acknowledged that this fight is not one that he can do alone.
“I do hope to inspire more chefs and food and beverage persons to donate more,” he added.
The Hands for Hunger Summer Camp feeding initiative, whose mission is to ensure that children have access to nutritious meals, partnered with Elijay’s Hilltop Camp which hosts 100 kids each day for the month of July. Hands for Hunger provides daily lunches for the camp.