December 19, 2022

Ottawa Mission Smashes Record for Number of Christmas Meals Served

14,030: largest number of holiday meals served in response to ongoing unprecedented need

Ottawa, ON – Ottawa, ON – During this Christmas season, The Ottawa Mission served an astounding 14,030 Christmas meals to people across the city of Ottawa, the highest total of holiday meals ever served in the shelter’s history. The shelter provided a full Christmas meal with all the fixings at its first in-shelter Christmas meal since 2019 for both shelter guests and community clients on December 18 as well as through its 32 food truck program community partner stops and other locations across Ottawa from December 11 – 17.

In addition to this special meal, the occasion also provided a sense of warmth and community to those in need who would otherwise be alone.

The shelter’s annual meal numbers have almost doubled since the beginning of pandemic, rising from 495,000 in 2018 – 2019 to 938,000 in 2021 – 2022. The pandemic and now inflation means even more people are having to choose between feeding themselves and their families or paying their housing costs, and turning to the shelter for help. “I’ve been at The Mission for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen hunger this shocking in our community,” noted Chef Ric Allen-Watson, Director of Food Services at The Mission.

Over 6,500 pounds of turkey as well as 3,200 pounds of potatoes, 1,700 pounds of vegetables, 150 gallons of gravy, and 900 vegetarian quiches went into making these meals. “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,” Allen-Watson added.

“While we are very pleased to be having our first in-shelter meal for both shelter guests and community clients since 2019, we remain very concerned about the shocking increase in hunger across our community due to the pandemic and inflation. We look forward to working with all levels of government in 2023 to address those conditions which caused so many people in need to turn to our shelter for help, including poverty, lack of affordable housing, and other factors,” Ottawa Mission CEO Peter 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 2021-2022, The Ottawa Mission provided emergency shelter to an average of 118 men every night and served an average of 2,570 meals every day.  The Ottawa Mission also provides to men and women health services, mental health and addiction treatment programs, primary care, 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.

Aileen Leo
Director of Communications
T 613.234.1144 x 305
C: 613.712.3092