Feeding our community

Bread for life

Reflecting its strong tradition of sharing with the community, St. John’s Food for Life program offers a variety of food free to anyone who wants it. Every Tuesday afternoon fruits and vegetables, baked goods, meat and dairy products and prepared foods such as deli salads and sandwiches arrive in the special Food for Life truck that collects close-to-expiry perishable goods from Halton grocery stores, restaurants and distributors.

A dozen volunteers sort the food and share it with a smile, helping at least 30 clients of all ages every week. They get friendly advice on preparation and cooking for themselves and their families. One volunteer is a retired baker, some are from St John’s, some are appreciative clients who want to “pass it on.”

Some clients are regulars, many are on fixed income, some come just once or twice and then life gets better. “It’s great and it’s sad that our program is successful” says coordinator Susan Tupling. “It meets a community need, and it’s rewarding for the volunteers. We know almost all the clients by name.”

Ev’s Kitchen feeds body and soul the last Friday of every month with a hot lunch and warm hospitality. Just three guests showed up for the first meal in March 2012; now there are at least a dozen who enjoy everything from stew to soup and sandwich to a turkey dinner in December. Everyone from any walk of life is welcome. Some come with empty stomachs, some, including a widower who came one day last year just to talk, because they’re lonely and love the company. One satisfied guest, suffering from illness and depression, remarked before Christmas “that’s the one good meal I’ll have this month.”

Ev’s Kitchen and Food for Life constantly improve as we listen and learn from our guests. In December, everyone went home with a tin of homemade baking. Over 50 people received warm winter coats donated by the church. Soon there may be a community cooking project. As word spreads about these programs, we’re seeing many more ways to share with hands and hearts.