Ottawa, ON – During The Ottawa Mission’s annual Thanksgiving meal, which was held on October 9th as well as the week prior to Thanksgiving through the shelter’s food truck program, The Mission served 16,496 meals – a new record for a special meal service.
“It takes 6,000 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: 3000 lbs. peeled potatoes; 2000 lbs. glazed fresh carrots; 150 gallons of gravy; and 900 vegetarian quiches. “This Thanksgiving meal count is yet another example of the overwhelming need for food in our community.”
Prior to the pandemic, The Mission served 495,360 meals annually. This past year, it served an astounding 1,057,489 meals. “While it has been heartening to welcome community clients back into our shelter for meals, our community faces very serious challenges in a post-pandemic environment, the most shocking of which is the skyrocketing rate of hunger,” stated Peter Tilley, Ottawa Mission CEO.
“This means that we served the equivalent of more than one meal for every person in Ottawa this past year. It’s disgraceful that increasing numbers of people in our community have to choose between paying their rent and feeding themselves and their families,” Allen-Watson added.
This is one reason why The Mission launched its food truck program. Beginning in September 2020 with one truck and five stops serving 500 meals per week, it now has two trucks which deliver over 7,000 meals per week at 35 community partner locations across the city to ensure that those who cannot travel to the shelter do not go hungry. The shelter is working to expand this program in response to continuing overwhelming community need.
“Poverty, homelessness and food insecurity are serious public health issues. We at The Ottawa Mission are doing our part to address shocking increases in hunger and keep people healthy through our meal program,” said Ottawa Mission CEO Peter Tilley. “Now more than ever, our team of staff, volunteers and service partners supported by our donors are working harder than ever to meet the increasing need in our community.”
About The Ottawa Mission
Since 1906, The Ottawa Mission has been serving the homeless, the hungry and the lost by providing food, clothing, shelter and skills. In 2022-2023, The Ottawa Mission provided emergency shelter to an average of 177 men every night and served an average of 2,898 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 a new housing department.
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