Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) handed out their final meal of the season for Out of the Cold last night, something they have been doing for the last 10+ years.
Out of the Cold works in partnership with Start Me Up Niagara to deliver hot meals & temporary shelter to friends across the community November 1 – March 31.
NAC learned of the meal program through members & family who worked for Start Me Up or had been previous organizers. They wanted to become involved and took over one Sunday every month, to this day they remain one of the younger and only non denominational group’s to serve meals.
Meals typically consist of salad, chilli, a bun & hot drink with dessert. In the early days their team would make the chilli themselves using donated ingredients. Stephen Remus – NAC’s Minister of Energy, Minds, and Resources, recalls there were many crock pots involved.
As numbers increased it became more difficult to keep up and they began reaching out to restaurants for assistance with their ability to cook for larger quantities of people. Now each month they partner with a different restaurant that contributes the meal while NAC organizes and contributes everything else like containers/utensils and volunteers.
Participating restaurants have included downtown’s Merchant Ale House, Dispatch, Mahtay, oddBird & Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Rufinos Pasta Bar & Grill. They have been known to go above & beyond with their meals.
Janice Yungblut, a NAC Member, organizes the volunteers typically made up of members, each month led by a different captain.
Sarah Yurkiw, of Ruby Red Beautiful, captained a team this year. She recalls: “It was such an amazing and humbling experience.” she pulled together a team of other small business owners and young professionals in Niagara and looks forward to volunteering year after year.
NAC encourages other organizations to join in on programs like these that support our community. Keep an eye out for future opportunities later this year. If you are interested in learning more about Start Me Up NIagara or Out of the Cold please email email@example.com