Bienvenue à notre table


Tous les lundis soir, le repas offert par le poste de l’Armée du Salut de Swift Current, en Saskatchewan, attire une clientèle bigarrée.

« Nos convives sont issus de toutes les couches de la société. Leur âge, tout comme leur ethnicité, varie », dit le capitaine Michael Ramsay, qui a participé à l’élaboration du programme lorsqu’il était pasteur de l’église de l’Armée du Salut à Swift Current. « Nous avons constaté que des personnes, assises autour de la même table, qui vivent dans le même quartier depuis 50 ans, conversent parfois pour la première fois. »

Le poste organise des soupers depuis deux ans maintenant. Certaines personnes ont découvert cette activité par le truchement des différents programmes offerts par l’Armée du Salut, d’autres simplement par le bouche-à-oreille.

« Si je rencontre quelqu’un qui bénéficierait de ce service, je l’invite. Je prends alors le temps de m’asseoir à sa table, car cette personne est mon invitée pour la soirée », dit Sylvia Thorburn, intervenante au programme d’aide à la transition. Elle accompagne les clients à leur comparution en cour ou les aide à trouver un logement.

« Ils veulent éprouver un sentiment d’appartenance», ajoute Sylvia, qui est également la coordonnatrice des bénévoles pour ce programme. « Pour un grand nombre de personnes, ce repas communautaire équivaut à un repas pris en famille dans un endroit agréable et sécuritaire. C’est toute la raison d’être de notre ministère. »

Calvin Stricker, résident de longue date du quartier, vient au souper depuis le début.

« La nourriture est excellente et ça me fait sortir de la maison, dit-il. Quand tu ne travailles pas, comme c’est mon cas actuellement, tu cherches des occasions de mettre le nez dehors. »

Pour M.  Stricker, qui accepte des petits boulots comme tondre le gazon ou laver la vaisselle, joindre les deux bouts peut quelquefois être difficile. En plus de prendre le repas au poste une fois par semaine, il fait ses achats au magasin d’occasions de l’Armée et reçoit un panier de Noël. M. Stricker est heureux de participer au repas communautaire, mais ce qu’il apprécie par-dessus tout, c’est la compagnie des autres.

« Je connais presque tout le monde et ça me fait du bien. Si tu es de mauvais poil ce jour-là, tu peux parler à quelqu’un », ajoute-t-il.

« Je me suis fait de bons amis ici », dit Travis Mortensen.


Travis Mortensen habite à environ 30 pâtés de maisons du poste, mais il n’hésite pas à parcourir cette distance à pieds pour casser la croûte le lundi soir.

« Actuellement, j’ai un revenu fixe. Un jour comme aujourd’hui, où mon frigo est plutôt vide, cette activité est un don du ciel, car en plus de fréquenter des gens, je prends un bon repas », dit-il.

« Ce souper permet à nos convives de se libérer de certaines contraintes sociales et de nouer des amitiés », précise le capitaine Ramsay.

« Pour plusieurs personnes, c’est leur forteresse », dit Sylvia. « Ce rassemblement amical représente une forme de thérapie. »

Auteur : Kristin Ostensen

Photos : Kristin Ostensen

Pour lire l’article complet en anglais, cliquez ici :



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