At Boyle Street, it is an honour to be able to walk alongside our clients. Generous donors who give one-time donations, or even donate multiple times, are responsible for our ability to continue that work. During this holiday season, we’re taking the time to celebrate the over 30,000 meals we’ve been able to serve this year.
When clients come to our Community Centre, they are often looking for a warm meal. When they sit down to eat with our community in the drop-in centre, it’s more than just food – it's a meal, it’s companionship, it’s a taste of societal norms they are often looking in on from the outside.
A meal is often the first point of contact we have with a client.
Being able to meet them in this space, meeting one of their most basic needs, means that we are able to build a relationship with them that allows us to learn more about their story.
One of the unique things about Boyle Street’s model of building relationships first means that we don’t have to make assumptions about what a person needs. They are able to share their needs with us, and their own timeline. Starting with a meal builds that relationship and trust and allows us to walk alongside the client as they navigate the journey through homelessness and poverty.
When a client comes into the drop-in centre and participates in a meal, they are exposed to not only the atmosphere of a safe and warm environment, but also the wrap-around services we offer. Wrap-around services mean that we can approach a client and ask them what they need and make sure they get what they need. At Boyle Street, the power of a meal lies in the meaningful care that is served alongside it. It might be housing services, or addiction recovery programs, or any number of other services, but the point is that we are asking the client what they need, and they are actively designing their path out of poverty and homelessness.
These meals are always warm and nutritious. Our Kitchen Coordinator Ani keeps the menu diverse, offering things like mustard chicken and shrimp fried rice, or the simpler fare of chili with garlic bread. Clients who come to eat with us know that we’re not offering a hand-out, but a hand up. We’re ready and willing to build a relationship with each client so that their needs are addressed in a personal and meaningful way.