When you first meet Seema you feel an instant connection to her soul. She welcomes you with her smiling twinkling eyes and a warm big hug, and you melt like brie baking on warm flatbread!
A few days ago I had the honor to get an insight into her soup-kitchen as she shared the story of her struggles from the start-up days in a small church kitchen in 2013. Her current space is well organized and sparkling clean end-to-end filled with volunteers cooking away. She and her team create soul-nourishing meals every day and serve tasty food plates filled with love and hope to many in the community. Here is her story!
Anu: What inspired you to create the “soup-kitchen” which you named *5n2 Kitchen?
Seema: I had no background or experience in this field of work but truly believe God planted a seed in my heart to set up 5n2Kitchens to serve my community. And from that moment there has been no looking back – I am here to do God’s work!
Anu: When you hear the words of gratitude from the receivers of the food – I am sure you feel great. But what happens on those days when funds are low or you feel fatigued – what is that “mantra” that drives you?
Seema: It’s my faith in God’s and His word of continued provision and grace even through the many challenges over the past 7 years that don’t cease to amaze me. I have seen many miracles flow in abundance as I strive hard to feed as many people as possible.
Anu: What would be 3 challenges you have overcome in the last 5 years and how?
Seema: Many obstacles and resistance stood in my path but I was so determined to hang on because the conviction is so strong. It wasn’t easy because I lacked knowledge, connections, and resources in a new country.
I had to research intensely, take calculated risks, trust people I didn’t know well, and step out in faith.
And I learned the hard way, stepping into the unknown was an adventure and a huge risk to move from a paid job to volunteer work – but once I made the choice, I knew in my heart that this was it.Since 2013, when we began serving some 100 soups/week, and now in 2020 serving 1200-1500 fresh and free meals to over 9 locations and we are still not funded by the government or any corporations. 40-50 volunteers come in through the week and none of us are paid a salary and we pay rent and other expenses from small private donations to continue our operations.
Anu: What can individuals/corporations do to support the awesome work you are doing in our community?
Seema: Currently our volunteers are preparing, packaging, and delivering free food supplies and fresh meals to the isolated and more vulnerable in our communities every day. Consistent financial support from individuals/corporations will enable us to increase and sustain our work in the long term and provide meaningful employment to some of our hard-working volunteers.
It is important to note that they haven’t closed their doors even for a single day working Monday through Sunday since the COVID19 pandemic – they continue to deliver freshly cooked food and produce to the needy.
Seema David is a true shero in our society and we need more people who care and share as much as she does.
*The charity’s name, 5n2 Kitchens, refers to the biblical narrative of Jesus feeding a crowd with five loaves of bread and two fish, she said. The kitchen is in an industrial unit at Markham and Ellesmere Rd.