everyone deserves home

Offering compassion, one meal at a time

May 21, 2024

“For people struggling with complex mental health and substance use issues, food is more than nutrition,” Paul Stewart says. “Food gives comfort and a sense of belonging. Enjoying a meal and chatting with our cooks may be the only human interaction someone has that day.”

Paul is our Food Service Manager at Cool Aid. He supervises food preparation at two commercial kitchens: Rock Bay Landing, our main shelter, and Mount Edwards Court, a supportive and affordable housing site. From these two locations, food is delivered and served to our tenants across the city.

“We don’t run soup kitchens,” Paul says. “Our cooks really care. They make quality meals and they’re committed to welcoming and building rapport with everyone who comes through the door.”

“Donations are crucial to what we do,” Paul says. “There is no such thing as a small donation. Every dollar counts now, especially for folks on fixed incomes. And people are truly grateful. They leave messages on my phone, saying ‘Thank you. I was struggling and the food helped me move onto a better stage in my life.’”

Paul and his team also prepare holiday meals for celebrations at the Downtown Community Centre. And to cut down on the amount of food going into landfill, they work with other organizations, like the Mustard Seed Food Bank, to use rescued food whenever possible.

Food Services is expanding to meet the growing need for food security. Thanks to donors just like you, the Crosstown housing development set to open later this year will include a new kitchen and cafe. Once they’re up and running, we’ll offer onsite culinary and life skills training programs that will help participants enter or return to the workforce.

Thank you for supporting dignified access to healthy food—and so much more—through our Food Service.