Much To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

At The Ottawa Mission, we have much to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving. Throughout the pandemic, I have been profoundly grateful for your willingness to match your generosity to the increasing level of need we see here every day. 

For example, our average daily meal count has risen more than 80% since Covid-19 started. Each day, hundreds of people come to our food truck. People who never before worried about hunger or survival. People with walkers, people in wheelchairs, people with their children. Our Mobile Mission Meals program has grown from five locations serving 500 meals/week to 19 locations serving over 3,000 meals/week — and your support made that possible. 

Another way you’ve been making a difference is through Chef Ric’s, our newly expanded Food Services Training Program and culinary service. Through the program, students develop a versatile array of culinary skills, helping them to become self-sufficient. Profits from the program support The Mission. Plus, it’s also a retail space where people in the community can purchase healthy and affordable food.

Chef Ric’s will proudly carry on the 90-year legacy of Rideau Bakery, which provided warmth, inclusion and a feeling of home to all who entered.

One last example of your generosity in action is our Hospice — a shining star in providing palliative care to people who are homeless. This June, we celebrated 20 years of replacing isolation with compassion, dignity and community for our most vulnerable citizens in need of end of life care.

Without your support, none of this important work would be possible. As the Chair of our Board of Directors ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart. 

Shaun Baron

Chair of our Board of Directors, The Ottawa Mission

No One Passes Away Alone

The Ottawa Mission Hospice Turns 20

Your generosity has made our Hospice a special place where homeless men and women can receive compassionate palliative, emotional, and spiritual care with dignity. This care is offered to patients, as well as their families and friends.

In 1999, Tim said his last wish was to avoid hospitalization. He was a shelter guest living with AIDS. To honour his final wish, Mission staff cared for him—he took his last breath surrounded by friends. His experience was the genesis for our Hospice.

Beginning in 2001 with six beds, our Hospice is now home for up to 21 people, most of whom would otherwise pass away alone. Our Spiritual Care team organizes memorials in our chapel for those who pass away.

While many patients die within months, some do not. One of these is Luc, a gentle man of 60 years. He provided for his family by playing and coaching professional hockey.

Tragically, after his son Steven died, Luc’s overwhelming pain sent him spiralling into divorce, addiction and homelessness. Sometimes, he stayed in our shelter and visited our drop-in addictions treatment program and Chaplain Timothy. After bypass surgery, he was convinced to stay at our Hospice to recover.

 “I wasn’t expecting to come, but I’m glad I did. I enjoy talking to Timothy. It helps me make sense of my life,” he says.

Pat is a peer support worker with our partner Ottawa Inner City Health. These workers draw on their experience helping people facing homelessness, mental illness and addiction to support patients.

Pat reduces the anxiety of her patients by running errands for them, accompanying them to their appointments, and even sitting with them during their last hours.

"No one passes away alone. It’s a privilege to be allowed into our patients’ lives."

On June 1, we marked the 20th anniversary of our Hospice, and you’re a big part of that. Thanks to you, our leadership in palliative care for vulnerable people continues today. Your unending kindness provides the support our Hospice patients need and deserve.

A Meal Leads To Much More

New Beginnings With Chef Ric’s

Ottawa is often thought of as a prosperous community, yet it has deep pockets of hunger, made worse by COVID-19. For instance, The Mission is located in Ottawa-Vanier—an area with the highest food bank usage in Ontario.

So that no one goes hungry during the pandemic, we modified our community meal program to supply three takeout meals a day through our garage so clients could continue to be fed without entering our shelter. 

Itohan is a refugee from Nigeria and a new employee at our meal service. She fled her home in Nigeria because her two young daughters were about to be forced into marriage. Once in Canada, Itohan looked for work. That’s when she applied and was accepted to our Food Services Training Program.

In the program, she felt at home. “I fell in love with the kitchen,” she notes with fondness.

Of Chef Ric, she says, “I love him. He’s like a father: he calls us once in a while and asks, ‘what do you need?’” Itohan finds joy in serving community meal program clients. “I love giving them food. It makes me happy,” she says.

We also launched our Mobile Mission Meals food truck to feed people who couldn’t travel to our shelter due to disability, lack of money for transportation, or other reasons. We began with five stops Monday through Friday, delivering 100 meals at each stop. The Mobile Mission Meals truck now has 19 locations rotating throughout our community. What’s more, the truck provides over 3,000 meals, seven days a week!

Every day, hundreds of people line up at our food truck. 

Cicely, a graduate of the Food Services Training Program who works in the Mobile Mission Meals food truck says, “I meet families, street people, people with addictions, seniors, and many others. COVID-19 has hit people hard — people who are out of work and isolated. Our food program gives them something to look forward to.”

Clients often go hungry until our truck comes. But because of you, they are now being fed.

“I like being part of something new and adaptive which lets us reach more people since we provide such beautiful meals for them. Clients are so polite and thankful,” Cicely adds.

The novel “Chef’s Ric’s” project empowers people to move toward independence, self-sufficiency and dignity by:

  • providing a retail space where people can purchase healthy and affordable ready-to-eat meals
  • expanding the Food Services Training Program — helping over 90% of our graduates to find jobs in the food industry
  • expanding the catering service, with proceeds supporting the Food Services Training Program

One of Chef Ric’s new employees is Mercy. Originally a nurse from Ghana, Mercy also fled her home in 2019 because she was about to be forced into a marriage. Upon arriving in Canada, she had difficulty securing the support she needed to feel safe, included and valued until she enrolled in the Food Services Training Program. 

“Getting into this program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Coming here, I felt accepted. This program gave me hope. I saw it not only as an opportunity but also a career. Cooking for the community, I finally saw myself fulfilled. Waking up every morning and having this responsibility, it gave me joy, it gave me happiness,” says Mercy.  

Mercy graduated in May 2021 and now works in the baking department. “This has increased my confidence and self-esteem. I’m so grateful to The Mission.”

On behalf of all of our Food Services Training Program graduates and our meal program clients, thank you to all our donors and supporters. Your kindness means so much.

John & Lee Norton

Faithful Donors

John Norton deeply respects The Ottawa Mission and the work that it does. In John’s words, “The Ottawa Mission enables us to be a part of God’s Kingdom by helping those in need.” It’s why he and his wife Lee support The Mission with annual gifts, and it’s why they have chosen to remember it with a gift in their estate plans.

Now retired, John and Lee have lived in Ottawa for many years. They are blessed with two children and six grandchildren. “No question, Ottawa is a great place to live,” says John, “but far less so without a pay cheque. Our winters are cold and harsh. It’s one reason why we are happy to support The Mission.”

It was CEO Peter Tilley’s leadership that drew the Nortons closer to The Mission’s work. Struck by his caring for others and his kindness, they realized that donating was a practical and responsible way of following Christ’s teaching to help the less fortunate.

In giving to The Mission, they are enabling important work they cannot do themselves. When they last revised their wills, the Nortons knew that remembering The Ottawa Mission with legacy gifts was something they wanted to do. Their legacy gift will be a percentage of their estate’s value, to be used where the need is greatest.

Like the Nortons, you too may support The Ottawa Mission with a legacy gift. It’s easy to arrange, and our staff would be pleased to help you in any way. Email donations@ottawamission or call 613-234-1155 if you’d like to learn more about legacy giving.

On behalf of those we serve daily, our deepest thanks go to John and Lee Norton for their faith-filled support.

Would you like to learn more about the benefits of including a gift in your will? Join us for a free webinar on September 23rd! 


Mark has been working for over a decade at The Ottawa Mission, and feels grateful to be a servant for people who are homeless, providing them with dignity and a place for healing.

“I remember my first day at The Ottawa Mission as a cleaner: I faced a wall of urinals and toilet stalls that had to be cleaned.”

Mark asked himself if he could do the job. He gave it his best shot and met those who are homeless as a servant. Mark got to know the good people in the shelter and HousekeepingDepartment. His respect continues for them and all cleaners, especially during this pandemic.

Later he switched over to the kitchen crew and now drives a refrigerated van to deliver meals to people in need and pick up donations for the shelter’s kitchen. It makes for a full day, as well as gratitude shown to him for serving others, most often by our clients.

“My commitment is nothing compared to the dedication of our supporters who make it possible for us to offer over two thousand good meals each day to the community, provide clean laundry, and give humane care,” he notes modestly.

Despite the pandemic, as Mark notes, “The Mission continues to provide help with: breaking free from addiction; dealing with mental illness; finding a home; hopelessness; healthcare, hospice care and dental work; education; basic sanitary needs, including a hot shower; new, warm clothing; footwear, including work boots; restoring ID and obtaining benefits; drafting resumés; personal security and safety; and pastoral comfort.”

In Mark’s words “I had no idea working in a homeless shelter over a decade ago would be a wise choice to get through a pandemic.” He received both his vaccines at pop-up clinics held at The Mission this spring, which have gone a long way to keep shelter guests, community clients, staff and volunteers safe.

None of this would be possible without you and we are so grateful for your support.

You Can Feed Hope This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always an important time at The Mission. Right now, our staff and volunteers are hard at work preparing to serve nourishing meals of turkey, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes and more to our neighbours experiencing poverty on October 11th. 

Many people in Ottawa are struggling to put food on their tables and would otherwise go without a meal this fall. But you can make an impact by turning compassion into action with a special contribution.  In this gratitude season, you have the power to feed hope for those who are most vulnerable in our community! 

The gift of a meal could change the course of someone’s future, offering them a helping hand and access to life-changing support. Your generosity honours the spirit of Thanksgiving, making it a time of community, hope and gratitude for everyone.