Ottawa restaurant community provides meals for women in need

Photo: Jeffrey Radbourne

Cornerstone Housing for Women wants to thank, but most of all, recognize the support from the incredible Ottawa restaurants and suppliers who have been providing meals for their frontline staff and clients. Throughout this pandemic, twenty-four local restaurants have supported Cornerstone’s clientele and their outreach programs.

The restaurants include Royal Prince Cuisine, Ottawa Bagel, Marcie’s Cafe, Thyme and Again, Red Apron, Urban Element, Bread by Us, Arlington 5, Das Lokal, The Wellington GastroPub and the Pressed Café.

“How the community stepped up to ensure food security for our residents is truly amazing. The caring behind the food is as important as good food nourishes both body and soul! Our sincere thanks to the foodservice community,” says the Cornerstone Acting Executive Director.

Due to COVID-19, Cornerstone experienced many food challenges and faced many obstacles. Each of their locations transitioned to single food delivery rather than communal eating to prevent the spread of the virus. Cornerstone needed to source meals to locations that did not have a food program and that offered single meals.

Cornerstone Housing is especially grateful to the Parkdale Food Centre (PFC) for their leadership and generous support. The charity has two licensed kitchens at their emergency shelter, and at their Booth St. location that cares for senior women with chronic ailments.

The PFC launched a program, ‘Cooking for a Cause’, which helped Cornerstone to serve hundreds of nutritious meals cooked by talented restaurants to serve to at-risk women.

Three eager residents greeted the first delivery to the Princeton Cornerstone location back in March. They had been waiting in the lobby. One woman named Nancy* asked, “Is this for us?” She had tears in her eyes and a look of relief on her face.

“Community helping the community. It is all about collaborating to continue to support what is essential to Thyme and Again. We have always felt a close relationship with the Cornerstone team and all they do In Ottawa. When the pandemic hit, we were very glad we were able to start our soup program so quickly. Thanks to the overwhelmingly generous donations of our community, we were able to send soup and chowders every week to Cornerstone. We hope to continue to do this moving forward,” says Sheila Whyte, co-owner of Thyme and Again and long-time supporter of Cornerstone Housing for Women.

Additionally, many non-food businesses stepped up to help Cornerstone amid the pandemic. Timothey Dillon, a broker with Greater Ottawa Realty, sponsored 100 meals from Kanata Noodle House to be shared with Cornerstone’s clients and residents.

“We hope that the media’s take away is that people can call and support their local restaurants, pick an organization, plus donate the food, too. It becomes a triple success for everyone. Our local restaurants are always there to answer the call in our communities. Still, right now, they need our community support,” says Dillon.

It’s evident through the actions of Ottawa’s restaurant and food suppliers that these businesses care deeply for the community and the women in need. Cornerstone wants to highlight and thank those who have supported their mission and helped provide nourishing meals to their clients.

Costco, Lumentum, Café Mio, Grounded Kitchen, Fratelli Westboro, Sugar Baby Cupcakes, Cupcake Lounge, Pita Pit, Kanata Noodle House, Gabriel Pizza, Corner Peach, Scone Whitch and Jacobsons Gourment Food has shown astonishing care in suppling food throughout these difficult times.

Every person in Ottawa, especially the most vulnerable people, deserve access to nutritious food and nourishing meals. With help from the restaurant community, Cornerstone Housing for Women was capable of providing delicious meals to women who needed it most.

*Name changed to protect privacy