Fresh, free food for the city’s needy is now on the menu at a downtown shelter.
The Lighthouse has opened a new soup kitchen at its downtown headquarters. The shelter will now provide free meals to the public twice a week.
For people like Harry McLeod, the new community kitchen is welcome.
“It’s important for families who are struggling for food and shelter,” McLeod told reporters Monday at the kitchen’s grand opening.
McLeod spent years on the street and now lives at The Lighthouse. While the new kitchen is aimed at helping people who don’t already live at the assisted living facility, he said he looks forward to frequenting the new kitchen.
Aside from cooking free suppers twice a week, the newly renovated kitchen will also provide cooking classes for people who want learn to cook healthy meals on their own.
The Lighthouse’s DeeAnn Mercier said the new kitchen will be a valuable resource for people who struggle to make ends meet.
“When rents go up, a lot of people take money out of their food budget in order to pay their bills, so money becomes very tight. There is just not enough to go around,” Mercier said.
Other popular soup kitchens in Saskatoon, like the one at the Friendship Inn on 20th Street, don’t serve supper, Mercier noted. That means people on the street still go hungry at night.
The shelter expects as many as 60 people to frequent the free meal service in the first few months. After the holidays, demand will like increase, Mercier predicted.
The kitchen will be fully staffed by volunteers and its shelves will be stocked with donated food. Mercier said she hopes the kitchen will bring in new people to The Lighthouse.
“They will come in, get to know us and we can talk to them, maybe before they lose their house,” she said.
Cameco provided the funding to renovate the kitchen and plans to help staff it with volunteers.