How It All Began

By: Hermann Glockl, Founder of FCS Food on the Corner Society

Normally the November days on the West Coast of British Columbia are wet, rainy, and oftentimes fog moves in from Georgia Strait, lifting around noon. That’s how it was on the 16th of November 1982. After supper, I sat down and watched the evening news with Tony Parsons; actually I only watch television periodically, these being one of those times. I can no longer remember the details of all the stories that they discussed that evening, with the exception of one; which came out of the Interior of BC, more specifically, Quesnel. That story would forever change my life.

The setting was the Fraser Bridge in that snow covered little Caribou Town. A couple was busy, serving those in need a hot cup of soup with sandwiches on a cold, frosty fall evening. Ice and snow covered the ground. People must have been freezing, as one could see the steam of the hot cup of soup rising in the air. When I watched that story, I immediately said to my wife, “that’s something we could do, let’s start a soup-kitchen,” as if a voice was saying, “You can feed My sheep.” The interesting thing on that story was that the man who helped make soup, was a logger, who himself was out of work!

The more I thought about that story on that cold November night, the more determined I became. The next day, I still was very excited about the idea, having I shared the news with Wayne Bergman, a dear friend and a trusted co-worker of mine, and like me, he too got excited and wanted to be part of this venture. The two of us started to work on this project together, planning and preparing for the opening day, which we scheduled for the first of January of 1983 On that New Year’s day, Wayne took upon him the responsibility of finding a suitable location where we could set up shop. My duty was to get all the necessary items for serving and feeding a host of people. Erika, my wife, made the very first large container of soup for us and eventually became our number one soup maker in the early years of our ministry.

As the opening day approached, doubts arose in my mind, are we doing the right thing? What will people say? What about City Hall? Indeed, those were some of the thoughts that went through my mind before opening day. But then I thought of that whisper in my ear, “You can feed My sheep,” and I said never mind what people will say, let’s go and do it! If people are hungry and in need, then we will feed them. So, with this attitude in mind we proceeded in filling the Pinto station wagon with all the necessary items, such as the Coleman stove we took along, to keep the soup piping hot. Finally, opening day came. When I arrived at the corner of Main and Hastings, Wayne was already there, informing all the people in and around Carnegie Library (now Carnegie Centre) that we had a gift for them: good homemade soup and sandwiches, and best of all, it was all free! In no time thirty-five to forty people lined up, making our first day a total success. As we cleaned up the area and assessed the situation, we told all the folks that we would be back the following Saturday at the same time.