Hometown: Dedicated to a soup kitchen in Williams Lake

Salvation Army food bank co-ordinator and soup kitchen manager Tari Davidge washes macaroni for a salad. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Salvation Army soup kitchen volunteer Eric Schlitt chops fresh turkey for a soup. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Two fairly newcomers to Williams Lake are helping feed the less fortunate at the Salvation Army soup kitchen where they serve breakfast and lunch five days a week.

When Eric Schlitt is not working as a heavy duty mechanic, he’s volunteers at least three days a week.

Three months ago he signed up to help out at the Salvation Army.

“I felt the urge to do something like this,” Schlitt added. “I go to my other job after this. I work B&J Trucking.”

Born and raised in Prince George, he moved to the lakecity about five years ago after he met his partner who already lived here.

“I’d come and visit her and then I moved here,” he said, adding before that he had not spent much time in the Cariboo.

They live on Fox Mountain, where there is “lots to do on the ‘homestead,’ and they have three dogs and two cats.

He mountain bikes and living on Fox Mountain where he can easily access the biking trail network.

“I can just go out my backdoor. I like the mountain biking here and the weather, usually,” he added.

As he sliced up fresh turkey for some soup, he chuckled and added he likes his kitchen job more than his heavy duty mechanic job.

Tari Davidge, the food bank co-ordinator and kitchen supervisor, said she is forever grateful for Eric.

“He is the only one that makes soup and does salads for me. It’s so awesome.”

Read more: Salvation Army thrift store re-opens in Williams Lake after shutting doors due to COVID-19

Davidge said menu at the soup kitchen is determined by available food.

“I made cheesburgers last week and people were pretty happy, some days we serve spaghetti, we had pizza day on Friday and did up about 12 or 12 pizzas,” she explained. “It’s not just soup and a bun.”

She was making up some macaroni salad for lunch on Tuesday.

This is her third summer in Williams Lake.

She moved here from Mackenzie when her husband from Mackenzie when was hired at Gibraltar Mine as a mechanic.

Because of work, she stayed back in Mackenzie for awhile and then made the move.

“I followed my daughter here too, but I told her I’m not moving again,” she added, noting she has two grandchildren in Williams Lake.

On July 8, Davidge celebrated her first anniversary working at the Salvation Army, but said she volunteered for one year before that.

When asked what she likes about Williams Lake, she said it’s the shopping because there is a lot more than she had when she lived in Mackenzie and often drove to Prince George.

“But it in the winter it was a two-hour commute to go there.”

The numbers of people coming into the Salvation Army to eat meals aren’t as high as they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Davidge noted.

“We had about 48 on Friday and before we closed our doors because of COVID we were sitting around the 90s. I think some people are apprehensive about coming in and it has been beautiful out too.”

Read more: ‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19


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