By Alexis Mimacho
Since starting the program back in April 2020, the Kitchen Bees have made over 8000 meals and worked with 75 volunteers from the community. The Kitchen Bees program is an outreach project of the Church of the Apostles in Guelph. The program works hard to help keep the community fed with high quality ingredients, and delicious new recipes 4 times a week.
Steering Committee Member Laurie Douglas says, “What started out as a small commitment about a year ago, has grown to a network of food sourcing, volunteer engagement, and uniting like-minded organizations desiring to address food insecurity magnified during the COVID pandemic.”
Almost all the volunteers have come from the community. They arrive to a sanitized kitchen with the ingredients to make the meals. For many it is a rare opportunity to volunteer during the pandemic and to help the community. Steering Committee Member and frequent volunteer Carolyn Beir tells us that “serving with Kitchen Bees is a fun and practical way to invest in our local community — to help feed those that find themselves in a place of need just now. It allows my family, as three generations volunteering together, to provide healthy meals for others made with a ton of love. “
The Kitchen Bees works closely with The Bench, which provides a space for those who are food insecure or homeless to come by for a meal, or pick up toiletries and self care items they may need for the days or weeks to come. Kitchen Bees provides 3 meals a week to them, feeding around 50 people per day.
In addition to The Bench, Kitchen Bees offers frozen meals to different distribution services in Guelph including Hope House and the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition. Some of these services are providing food to those quarantining in hotels with COVID-19. Since most of these people don’t have access to a stove or oven, they appreciate meals that can be warmed in a microwave.
The program will continue until the end of the year as we have received funding through Second Harvest/Food Rescue and the Federal Government Canada Summer Jobs Program. We are particularly excited about the increase of attention and interest directed towards the program, and are very happy to see more members of our community wanting to offer a helping hand during these difficult times.