Ottawa, ON – During this Christmas season, The Ottawa Mission has served an astounding 6,274 to people across the city of Ottawa, the highest total of special holiday meals ever in the shelter’s history. Normally The Mission serves 2,000 – 2,500 Christmas meals each year. This year, the ongoing pandemic has made hunger in Ottawa much worse, and in response, The Mission served a full Christmas meal with all the fixings to:
- its shelter guests;
- clients in our take-out community meal program;
- food truck clients from December 12 – 18;
- clients within the Routhier Covid19 self-isolation centre and the Dempsey and Nicolas overflow homeless shelters;
- residents within Ottawa Community Housing and clients of the Youth Services Bureau; and
- other community organizations throughout the city.
“I’ve been at The Mission for 20 years, and I’ve never seen hunger this bad in our community,” noted Chef Ric Allen-Watson, Director of Food Services at The Mission. “It took 4,500 pounds of turkey, or 250 large turkeys, to feed everyone who receives our Christmas dinner. I want to thank the people of Ottawa for their incredible generosity by donating so many turkeys, produce and other food items to ensure that we could help meet this need by providing a full Christmas dinner to so many people. I also want to thank our kitchen volunteers and staff, who worked so hard to make these meals.” Also on the menu were: 100 pans of stuffing; 6,000 dinner rolls; 3,000 lbs. peeled potatoes; 1,000 lbs. glazed fresh carrots; 150 gallons of gravy; 900 vegetarian quiches; and 6,000 desserts.
“The ongoing pandemic has meant a significant change in our operations, including our meal program to minimize the risk of Covid19 while delivering desperately needed food,” noted Ottawa Mission CEO Peter Tilley. The Mission currently serves 2,600 meals per day to people in need both at its shelter and also through its food truck program, which has 19 stops throughout the city. If trends continue, the shelter will deliver over 900,000 meals this fiscal year.
“Poverty, homelessness and food insecurity are serious public health issues and all have been made much worse by this pandemic. Here at our shelter, we’re doing our part to address food insecurity and keep people healthy through our meal program,” Tilley concluded.
About The Ottawa Mission
Since 1906, The Ottawa Mission has been serving those who are homeless, hungry and lost by providing food, clothing, shelter and skills. In 2020-2021, The Ottawa Mission provided emergency shelter to an average of 185 men every night and served an average of 1,994 meals every day. The Ottawa Mission also provides to men and women health services, mental health and addiction treatment programs, hospice care, dental services, housing services, educational support, job training, spiritual care, and clothing to thousands in need in our community. In September 2020, The Ottawa Mission marked the one millionth hour that the shelter has been in existence since its founding in 1906. In 2019, the Mission became a housing-focused shelter reflective of its commitment to a home for everyone as a human right with the launch of its housing department. Visit ottawamission.com to learn more.
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