Ottawa, ON – During The Ottawa Mission’s annual Thanksgiving dinner program, which was held on October 12th as well as the week prior to Thanksgiving through the shelter’s food truck program, The Mission served 6189 meals. On any given day, The Ottawa Mission serves over 2,500 meals to shelter residents and those in need in the community. During special meals such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, The Mission provides 5,000 – 6,000 meals for those who would otherwise go hungry.
“It takes 4,000 pounds of turkey to feed everyone during our special Thanksgiving dinner,” noted Chef Ric Watson, Director of Food Services at The Mission. Also on the menu was: dinner rolls (5,000); peeled potatoes (2500 lbs); glazed fresh carrots (1000 lbs); gravy (150 gallons); vegetarian quiche (900); individually wrapped desserts (5,000).
Despite being a wealthy city, Ottawa has some of the highest rates of hidden hunger in the province. The riding of Rideau-Vanier where The Mission is located has the highest use of food banks in Ontario. As well, Ottawa South and Ottawa West-Nepean are among the 10 ridings with the most food bank users per capita.
Food insecurity contributes to poor mental health, diabetes and heart disease. In 2020 – 2021, The Mission served 727,903 meals to those who would otherwise go hungry, the highest number in the shelter’s history. If current trends continue, the shelter will deliver 900,000 – 1 million meals in 2021 – 2022.
The continuing pandemic, now in its 20th month, has made hunger in our community much worse. This is one reason why The Mission launched its food truck program, which delivers over 3,000 meals per week at 19 community partner locations across the city to ensure that those who cannot travel to the shelter due to disability, lack of funds for transportation, or other reasons do not go hungry. The shelter is working to expand this program is response to overwhelming community need.
“Poverty, homelessness and food insecurity are serious public health issues. We at the Ottawa Mission are doing our part to address hunger and keep people healthy through our meal program,” said Ottawa Mission CEO Peter Tilley. “Our kitchen volunteers and staff worked very hard to ensure that everyone had a delicious turkey dinner. And our donors and supporters have been profoundly generous in their support. A huge thank you to all,” 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 health services, mental health and addiction treatment programs, hospice care, dental services, housing services, educational support, job training, spiritual care, and clothing to thousands of men and women 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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