In what feels like a seemingly endless winter, sometimes the only warmth can come from a hearty bowl of soup. For women and children who have fled domestic violence at home, that bowl can mean so much more.
"Soup is one of those things that makes you feel happy and warm so it's great that it's going to women and kids in need," explained Brooke, Oilers defenceman Alex Petrovic's girlfriend.
"We strongly believe that food is a really great way to show love," said Mary Anne Nguyen, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at WIN House.
Every year the Oilers, the Oilers Ladies and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) show their love to others by chopping vegetables and simmering broth for Soup Sisters, a non-profit organization that sees volunteers make large batches of soup. The soup from the Oilers night was donated to the WIN House and Wings of Providence, two shelters in Edmonton for at-risk women and children.
"I can't even imagine [being in their shoes], but I'm glad we're able to support them and help them out in any way we can," explained Meagan, Oilers forward Ty Rattie's girlfriend.
"I'm picking up some tips cooking, socializing and meeting new people, so it's been a fun night for women in need," said Alex Petrovic.
"Alex hasn't really made too many soups so he's mastering a new skill over there," Brooke joked.
The EOCF has been supporting Soup Sisters for close to a decade by providing funding and volunteers.
"It's a really fun night," exclaimed Natalie Minckler, Executive Director of the EOCF. "This is the one event that people really love to come back to because it's so hands-on and interactive and it's a great opportunity to do something great in our community!"
"This is really important for us, feeding our clients is a large part of our cost and this really helps free up funds for other projects in the houses and support program," explained Nguyen.
For Colby Cave and his fiancé Emily, this was their first time participating in Soup Sisters. Emily was the first to admit Cave is the "better cook in the relationship", but they are equally accomplished when it comes to giving back.
"Colby and I have this motto that's along the lines of, 'be somebody that makes everybody feel like a somebody', so we just love to give back in any way and make people feel good."
The couple likes to give their time when they can; Emily has her own non-profit organization aimed at eliminating the stigma that is often associated with mental illness called You Are More.
"Being a guy that just arrived in Edmonton I haven't really had a chance to get out in the community and do something, and we're a couple that likes to reach out in that kind of aspect, so when this opportunity arose, we jumped on it," explained Cave.
Despite experience or cooking ability, five batches of soup were successfully made to feed hundreds at the shelters; each batch serves up approximately 90 bowls.
"When a group of individuals who don't even know the women and children in the shelter make all these beautiful healthy soups it means a lot to them and speaks volumes about the love and support our community shows," added Nguyen.
For more information on how to volunteer for Soup Sisters, visit SoupSisters.org.