Providing home-cooked meals to those in need is all Kirsten Ballendine and her colleagues at Everybody Eats In GP wanted to do. However, after a letter from Alberta Health Services asking them to cease operations of their “Sunday Supper” effective immediately, the business community as a whole came together to pitch in.
“It’s amazing. The community has been really supportive as to what we’ve been doing,” she says.
Everybody Eats started its home-cooked meal service on Sundays across from Rotary House in October 2017. The hope at that point was to take a small worry off the shoulders of someone who is facing homelessness.
The operation was told to stop what they were doing as meals being prepared en masse are required to be made in a commercial kitchen. With the majority of hot food made in private kitchens, those requirements were not met.
Despite being disappointed by the decision, Ballendine says she holds no ill will towards those who made it.
“I mean, I get where Alberta Health Services is coming from because of the vulnerability with people who aren’t as healthy.”
Local eateries like Browns Social House and Better Than Freds have both offered up their commercial kitchens to continue on the Sunday Supper efforts in the short term, with baked goods and other “low-risk” foods still being supplied by the volunteers. However, Ballendine knows a concrete action plan must be made for Everybody Eats in GP to continue its volunteerism.
“I love to cook for people. I couldn’t cook for 150 people myself, but I mean, we would have enough from everyone who signed up to serve the 150 people. Whatever was leftover we would take to the sunrise house or Odyssey House.”
Ballendine tells MyGrandePrairieNow.com plans are in the works for a long term fix but wasn’t able to share specific details at time of publishing.