Simple idea aims to bring residents together

It started with a group of people talking about the idea of how to bring people together. It’s developed into Simply Soup, a free, monthly community dinner and social which the small band of organizers are planning to launch into a monthly event.

A group of community members – representing a diverse segment of the population – wanted to open the doors of a community building one night a month to have neighbors meet neighbors. The goal was to provide an opportunity for community members to sit down with a stranger and come away with a friend.

“Our vision is to fill the senior-community center with families with toddlers and teenagers, seniors with walkers and canes, all walks of faith, all income levels,” Jobyna Nickum said. “Everyone is welcome.”

Nickum, who serves as Enumclaw’s senior center manager, said in all of her years working with seniors they’ve always talked about the Great Depression and rationing during World War II. While all their stories were different, they all shared one thing in common, “We knew we were going through the same thing together.”

“What we see happening today, in the news; in magazines; the talk of recession; the economic downtown, every day something new, we’re all in the same boat,” Nickum said.

Or as Bob Baer put it, “we’re all in the same pot.”

Which spawned Simply Soup.

The first event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 23 at the Enumclaw’s senior community center, 1350 Cole St.

Volunteer groups will provide soup, bread and dessert each month free. The band Yesterday’s Soup and Crackers will perform at April’s event.

“It’s a group of people that come and go so new people who want to help are welcome,” Nickum said of those who are organizing, providing the meal and the entertainment. It’s all done without funding.

There is one catch – everyone has to bring their own bowl and spoon. The group won’t be doing dishes and is trying to be environmentally responsible as well.

And this practice also has meaning.

“Growing up in the age of disposables it was really interesting to me when older adults would share with me stories about family get-togethers or grange hall functions and everyone would bring their own dinnerware and silverware from home,” Nickum said. “Dixie and Chinet were not invented. No one could afford it, and it was the environmentally green thing to do decades before we even knew what that was all about.”

Reach Brenda Sexton at or 360-802-8206.

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