Soup For The Soul | Arts & Culture
There are all sorts of things in life that can cause stress, anxiety and fear. For the most part, they are only temporary.
Eventually the unemployed will find a job, frustrated co-workers will work things out, the credit card debt will be paid or the marriage issues will be worked out.
People survive by finding ways to distract themselves from the daily stresses that at times, when focused upon, can simply be overwhelming.
For children at the Oncology Department of Sacred Heart's Children Hospital, there is nothing temporary about why they are there. The circumstances of their sickness are beyond their control. It never leaves them.
"Research has shown that a creative outlet lowers stress, anxiety and depression," said Ann Walker, who runs the Arts in Healing Program at Providence Sacred Heart." It raises overall well-being and actually has a physiological effect."
The children Walker works with are battling cancer.
"We are in our third year now. It's a program that offers an opportunity for creative expression," said Walker.
The program allows the children to leave their hospital room, leave the medical devices behind and go to the playroom where they can escape into the world of art.
"It helps people heal. It's a complimentary system that helps the medicine work better," said Walker.
Walker says the children are able to express themselves through their art. Many times she says, the children aren't able to communicate their fears, their anxieties, their inner most thoughts verbally but they need to be able to deal with their situation.
On average, 10 to 15 kids use the program each day.
The creative outlet of art allows children to focus on something other than their illness.
"There was a day when I was working with a child, a 12 year-old, and he'd been in the hospital for two weeks and we started doing art, and his Dad said, 'That's the first time I've seen you smile in two weeks.'"
Many pieces of artwork created by the children hang in different hallways throughout the hospital. It shows the beauty of life through the eyes of children whose lives may be cut short by a disease they don't understand.
The program is funded entirely through grants, donations and fundraisers.
The children are participating in the Soup for the Soul fundraiser this year. The Arts in Healing Program has teamed up with area restaurants that are donating a portion of the proceeds from Wednesday soup sales to the program.
"We raised $4,800 last year and we're hoping to hit $5,000 this year," said Walker.
The Arts in Healing program costs about $100,000 a year to operate. The restaurants are located throughout Spokane but there is a treasure at the Sacred Heart gift shop that's worth a stop.
The children in the program created special soup bowls that are being sold for $20 each. The ceramic bowls are decorated with everything from butterflies to tiny handprints. Each bowl bares the name of the child who decorated it.
Polka Dot Pottery donated all the supplies to create the useful artwork that you'll be able to enjoy for years.
Many of the children who find peace while in the program won't escape the realities of cancer but through their artwork, their vision of the world will live on and help those who will need the program in the future.
"We're wanting to expand and reach more kids and adults alike, but we need the funding to be able to do that," Walker said.
If you'd like to help the Arts in Healing Program, here are the restaurants that are participating in "Soup for the Soul" each Wednesday through October:
The Davenport Hotel & Tower
The Elk Public House
Europa Restaurant & Bakery
Huckleberry's 9th Street Bistro
Morty's Tap and Grill
Perry Street Cafe
Rock City Grill
Sante' Restaurant & Charcuterie
Saranac Public House
Steelhead Bar & Grille Taste Cafe
Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar
Two Seven Public House
Vintages @ 611
If you'd like to purchase a bowl and enjoy a bowl of soup with it, you can do that at The Cafe at Sacred Heart Medical Center.