For the last four years, 541 has been working to address the needs of our neighbourhood in tangible ways with the love of Jesus Christ and great food. Now we have an opportunity to expand this vision!
Just down the street from 541 Eatery & Exchange, at EduDeo Ministries’ Campus 621, we will be launching the next phase of our mission – a community kitchen, supported by a catering contract. The larger kitchen space will allow us to host free community cooking groups. We are very excited about how this project, partnered with our button system at the eatery, will provide better food security to our community.
Update from Chef Carolyn
It is a pleasure to write an update about 621 Community Kitchen – a project that has grown from learning about our community through service at 541 Eatery and Exchange.
For some reading this, it will seem like we have been talking about this project for quite some time. The idea has been discussed and we have been working toward action for almost two years! Naturally we are quite excited to share that construction will be starting soon and we understand that this step will be more straightforward than previous steps which have been mostly fundraising, design and then working with the technical considerations of the space we have leased.
About a year ago a few key components of the project all intersected at once which gave us a strong sign that this is meant to be our next mission, including the opportunity to lease space at 619-621 Barton St. E. We are blessed to have EduDeo Ministries supporting us in this way. Currently the entire main floor of the building is waiting for our design to come to life. In this space we will have two large, separate kitchens – one for teaching and one industrial kitchen for catering – as well as multipurpose spaces to foster community.
One of the main premises we have discovered about our most vulnerable community members is that food security is deeper than simply not having access to food. Often the issue extends to not having access to kitchen equipment and lacking skills to prepare meals. Our teaching kitchen at 621 Community Kitchen will aim to address these needs by creating a program overseen by a registered dietician, a social worker and a chef. Together this team will facilitate group education, batch cooking of approximately 5-7 meals per week and a system that allows participants to keep the meals they have prepared in a freezer at 621 Community Kitchen, to be accessed daily. It is our hope that coming back to 621 to pick up frozen meals will enhance their community experience by being able to visit with volunteers and check in with staff who may be able to assist further.
We have been working on ways to utilize the catering kitchen to it’s fullest potential. One of our goals is to create a program for seasoned participants and volunteers to experience on-the-job training. Hopefully the skills they hone at 621 Community Kitchen can assist in getting a permanent kitchen job in Hamilton. Additionally, we are brainstorming ways to get as many wholesome meals to as many people as possible – perhaps to offer a delivery option. The possibilities are endless, especially with the support of all of our wonderful volunteers.
Get on board!
To talk about how you could support this project, please email our Executive Director Sue Carr at sue[at]fivefortyone.ca.