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HOPE Centre serving up outreach for County teens

David Inch, Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church, is working with community partners to create the Hope Centre for Youth.

They came for the soup – and stayed for the fellowship, fundraising and to gain a sneak peek at the progress of the new Hope Centre for youth now under way in Picton’s Industrial Park.
Sixteen crock pots of fresh, homemade soup simmered Saturday afternoon, awaiting tell-tale taste buds of three judges tasked with choosing the County’s best soup and featuring it on their restaurant menus.

Lisa Nguyen stirs up the soups for judges Renta Lenc and Colin Williams.

Renta Lenc, of The Painted Peppercorn; Colin Williams, of Williams Family Diner and Dave Gingrich, president of Gospel Crusade Canada, dipped into each soup and judged on texture, aroma, appearance, flavour, and finally, best overall.
When they laid down their spoons, and invited the public to enjoy the many varieties for themselves, Stephen Arsenault’s Seafood Chowder was deemed the day’s finest overall offering (See recipe below).
Charlene Inch’s Poor Man’s Stew won best texture; Shirley Snider’s Vegetable Beef won best aroma; Jen Litke’s Cozy Ham and Bean was judged as having the best appearance and Darlene Brennan’s Squash soup earned best flavour.

Soup's On winner Stephen Arsenault serves up his Seafood Chowder to Jeanette Arsenault (no relation), and his sister Kim Inch. Jeanette, Kim and Rennie Thompson, as Trinity, entertained at the fundraiser.

The Soup’s On contest, meal and silent auction day was a fundraiser for a group of teens and adults travelling to Haiti for a mission adventure at an orphanage constructed last year by County residents.
Lead by Gingrich, the group of 10 local youth and eight parents is the largest and youngest mission group to be working with the children and youth at Haiti.

“While we’re there we will be finishing up the work at the orphanage – mostly painting and cleaning up the yard to plant grass,” says David Inch, Youth Pastor at the First Baptist Church. “There’s currently eight children in the orphanage and we raised enough money to buy bunk beds for them. We will also be going into the schools to deliver supplies and to do drama, singing and testimonials and we’re hoping to put on a youth rally in the community.”
All of the teens have raised their own money to participate.
“The trip costs $1,500 each and we asked them to raise $600 themselves,” says Inch. “We have completed many fundraisers over the past year including dinners, silent auctions, selling chocolates, candy floss and popcorn. The Cherry Valley Lions donated proceeds from their chip wagon at the last Music in the Park event.”
It is through donations and kindnesses of businesses and individuals that ignited the spark of Inch’s long-time dream of creating a safe place for Prince Edward County youth to have fun with friends and become inspired to learn and grow.
“The dream is to partner with people and organizations within the community who reach out to teens,” said Inch. “This is just part of the massive vision I have for the Hope Centre.”
During tours he conducted through the centre, he can barely contain his enthusiasm while explaining some of the plans soon to unfold.
In the main play area, games of pool and ping pong are under way at one end, while hockey and games with balls carry on in the other. The trampoline is folded up – not used unless adult spotters are on scene. There’s also air hockey tables, a table top arcade game, social area, and canteen. Soon, the youth will be able to relax in comfortable chairs while they challenge their friends to electronic gaming. An internet cafe is in the works, along with instructional rooms, a weight and workout room, and a woodworking area.
There will also be scheduled workshops by County experts in arts, crafts, music, carpentry, etc. Inch also hopes to partner with County residents and groups to provide teaching and counselling rooms, mentoring to enhance life skills, fitness and friendships.
The centre, run by the First Baptist Church in Picton, costs about $2,200 a month for utilities and for a short time, the rent is free of charge, thanks to a donation by building owner Chris Skeet.
Donations to the HOPE centre are always welcome. Organizers are currently looking for more sports equipment such as indoor soccer nets, balls and basketball nets for outside.
“There is so much support from the community,” says Inch. “It’s heartwarming. Every time I turn around in here there’s something new and it is always appreciated.”
The Hope Centre is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3p.m. -9 p.m. for high school students; Wednesdays from 3p.m. to 8 p.m. for Grades 5 to 8. Fridays are First Baptist Youth Nights and the public is welcome to join in. Grades 4-8 are welcome from 6p.m. to 8 p.m. and Grades 9-12 are welcome from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturdays will feature tournaments, movie nights and community use of facilities.

Stephen’s Seafood Chowder

500ml  18% cream
300g Bay Scallops (raw)
300g Nordic Shrimp (cooked)
300g Cod
2 cans of Sockeye Salmon
1 can of sweet corn (not drained)
8 peeled and diced potatoes
3 onions chopped
1 ½  bags baby carrots (sliced)
4 stalks of celery (diced)
2 tbsps of butter

In a standard stewing pot add corn, butter, celery, carrots, onions, juice from canned salmon, salt, and potatoes. Let marry for ½ hr stirring occasionally on mid-low temp.
Add water, leaving room for cream.  Panfry scallops & cod (chop scallops in ½ and mince cod) Debone canned salmon and mash. When vegetables are cooked add cream, fish and salt and pepper to taste.


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