Chalmers Feeds the Soul

“Chalmers feeds the soul as well as the body” is a quote from one of our supporters when talking about the service that Chalmers provides.

Several years ago when CCSC conducted a guest survey to find out what we could do better or more, the #1 response we received was “more social time”. Out of that survey we created coffee mornings downtown where guests have an opportunity to drop in for coffee, conversation, helping with a jigsaw puzzle or simply sitting in a safe space. At Chalmers West we opened up the Willow Grove room at Three Willows church early on Thursday mornings for folks to come in and sit down, chat with their friends and let their kids play, also in a safe, welcoming space. We want to create an environment where needs other than physiological and safety are being met.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is usually depicted as a pyramid where those physiological and safety needs are at the bottom of the period and self-actualization at the top. “People may have a strong, particular desire to become an ideal parent, succeed athletically, create paintings, pictures or inventions” Maslow writes.

Two guests who are fulfilling this self-actualization are Fern and Steve. Fern is a regular visitor to Chalmers cafes as well as the food pantry. She has rediscovered a love and talent for art and Chalmers volunteers have been encouraging her in this endeavour. Her art has recently been displayed at a number of venues in Guelph and Chalmers’ downtown neighbour, Guelph Arts Council plans to exhibit some of her work at 42 Carden this coming November. Drop in to see it for yourself.

Steve is also a regular Chalmers cafe and pantry guest. While watching his son participate in the Special Olympics a while ago Steve decided he needed to get back to a passion from when he was in his twenties – athletics. Thirty years later, Steve is now training hard in a number of disciplines and has been competing in seniors and masters meets. He proudly shows Chalmers volunteers some of the medals he has been winning. 

Chalmers primary purpose continues to be offering the most nutritious food we can. Maybe we should consider that encouraging our guests’ abilities, interests and passions toward self-actualization is equally important.

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