NASSAU, BAHAMAS — One in every three people in The Bahamas face some level of food insecurity, based on Hands for Hunger.
An article published by the Borgen Project, explains that food insecurity impacts school-aged children and their ability to learn. Initiatives corresponding to the National Lunch Program and the Hands for Hunger Summer Camp Feeding Program have made it their mission to combat the children’ 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 together with children from the Yellow Elder Summer Camp via a pop-up soup kitchen.
“Hands for Hunger are known to be essentially 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 one thing that may beat feeding the less fortunate is feeding kids. This warmed my heart much 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 began doing this (soup kitchen) about 5 years ago so it seemed an incredible approach to honor our 8 years together.”
This soup kitchen tradition began as a way for Hiram to offer back to the community that he was once an element of. Hall explained that Hiram faced his share of challenges and at one point he became homeless.
“He was certainly one of the kindest individuals I ever met and he opened my eyes to really being kind to the less fortunate. To that end, one-week several years ago we decided to randomly make a big pot of soup, go by the foot of the old bridge and provides away soup. We did it at our own expense but when the word got out lots of my supporters begged to assist next time. So we began taking donations and the Hiram’s Soup Kitchen Pop Up was born.”
This tribute to a friend translated into kids having fun with warm bowls of Bahamian dumpling soup, local vegetable and ham soup, and vegan split peas and native vegetable soup, all prepared by Hall and his assistant Derek Sawyer.
Hall explains that being aware of individuals locally 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 all of us could cut down on spoilage and donate a plate of food to someone in need each time we cook imagine how much we could do in our communities,” he said
Hall acknowledged that this fight shouldn’t be one which he can do alone.
“I do hope to encourage more chefs and food and beverage individuals to donate more,” he added.
The Hands for Hunger Summer Camp feeding initiative, whose mission is to make sure that children have access to nutritious meals, partnered with Elijay’s Hilltop Camp which hosts 100 kids every day for the month of July. Hands for Hunger provides every day lunches for the camp.