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By Natascia Lypny, OTTAWA CITIZEN August 6, 2013
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Mission is cooking up its high-demand meals outdoors this month as its kitchen undergoes much needed renovations.
“You can’t tell people who come here for a meal, ‘The kitchen is closed down for a month,’” says the Mission’s executive director Peter Tilley.
So, when the nearly decade-old kitchen’s health and safety concerns could no longer be tamed with small fixes, the Mission got creative. It rented a fully equipped, 13.5-metre trailer, which sits on Daly Avenue.
The trailer means the Mission doesn’t have to cut back on the more than 1,200 meals it serves every day. The menu didn’t require much tweaking either.
“The equipment inside essentially replicates what we have in our kitchen,” said director of operations Tim Moran.
The space is narrower, with room for only five people (and even that’s being generous). The freezer is smaller, too, meaning the chef has to put in more frequent food orders.
Inside the Mission, a lounge has been squeezed of space to accommodate a new food prep area. Moran said the Mission’s clients, who start trickling in over an hour before meal time, have been “very accommodating for us.”
Moran says these minor adjustments, made possible by the hard work and coordination of the volunteer team, will be worth the new kitchen. The space had been suffering from mould, water damage and peeling flooring tiles.
In all, the renovations are expected to cost $125,000, with an additional $15,000 for the trailer rental. Moran says the work, which is largely being done by the Mission’s own maintenance staff, has been factored into the organization’s budget and won’t detract
from spending elsewhere.
The renovations are set to be completed by Labour Day weekend.