Kitchener’s Tiny Home Takeout serves more than 460 meals with a lineup of guests, leaving their pizzas or the daily special in the hands of the guests.
Their goal is to deliver high-quality foods to those who are financially struggling or unsheltered. As a result, small takeout service is available to the public for free. They serve a variety of homemade pizzas and daily meals such as salads, pasta and soups.
Amy Cyr, one of Tiny Home Takeout’s chefs, underwent training in several different settings. This included teaching on reserves in the far north and working with marginalized communities. In 2017, Cyr was on the silver-medal team at Taste Canada’s Best New Student Chef competition.
Father Toby Collins, who has been organizing Tiny Home Takeout for the past 18 months explains. “We wanted to try this experiment by doing a restaurant and having Amy Cyr source out local produce when it’s in season, and different things, so it’s like a higher quality restaurant,”
“It’s not always easy, workwise, to put yourself in a position where you can help people.” Cyr said. “This ties everything together really nicely for me, and it allows me to help people, cook and have fun, and teach the volunteers a lot of things,”
Cyr’s day starts at 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays to Saturdays. She manages more than 20 volunteers and staff members, divided into three shifts every day, preparing and cooking ingredients, serving portions and putting containers in the church cellar for take-off.
Tiny Home Takeout told The Record that it hopes to allow everyone in downtown to have access to delicious, refreshed, nutritious food, available on a give-if-you-can and pay-it-forward basis.
According to The Record, Food insecurity rose substantially during the pandemic as one out of ten local households experienced it when the idea started. Nearly one-third of new individuals had access to food support programs during the first months of lockdown. Additionally, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region states that more than 34,500 people struggled to deliver food in Waterloo due to COVID-19.
The group recruited not only Amy Cyr, but also four part-time staff to work with 80 volunteers who can cook and prepare food. The group included, The Bishops of Hamilton, Douglas Crosby, the Catholic Community Foundation of Waterloo Region, the Knights of Columbus and the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation support the project alongside benefactors and hundreds of parish families.
The monthly number of foods served has almost doubled to about 10,000 since January, with 60 meals sent to A Better Tent City every night. Additionally, frozen extras are distributed in food hampers.
The Tiny Home team produces delicious meals made from high-quality ingredients. With a few suppliers and cuts made by local butchers, local foods are their main priority and they work on contracts for seasonal products with nearby farmers.