March marked some bleak moments for most businesses and charities across the country due to COVID-19. But for many, challenges also presented opportunities. Mutually beneficial partnerships have been formed with a goal to support our communities most vulnerable individuals, and we are pleased to share one of those successful collaborations.
In mid-March, Christie Henderson, Managing Director of Oakville based Henderson Partners LLP, a leading firm of chartered professional accountants and advisors approached Kerr Street Café and ArtHouse for Children and Youth offering to financially support the launch of a campaign that would help fund an Emergency Meals Program for families at-risk in Oakville.
Alex Flye, founder of Kerr Street Café, has been in the food service industry for over 10 years growing a home kitchen operation into a successful 60-seat restaurant and catering & events company. As their business has evolved, Kerr Street Café has made giving back to the community part of their corporate DNA.
For 11 years ArtHouse, a Halton focused charitable organization, has been enhancing the creativity and positive well-being of hundreds of young people, providing safe, cost-free arts programs, homework help, cooking, gardening and environmental education to kids living in subsidized Housing locations and Cooperatives and as well as working with Agency Partners serving the needs of vulnerable children and youth. COVID-19 dramatically affected the lives of ArtHouse families, including kids’ access to school breakfast programs. AND, no more ArtHouse after-school Programs.
The Emergency Meals Campaign has flourished thanks to the generosity of 160 Sponsors and Donors resulting in Kerr Street Café proudly preparing over 600 Meals that have been safely delivered by 17 Volunteers to 35 ArtHouse Families over the past 2 1/2 months. Shortly after this partnership began, two more restaurants, Ritorno of Oakville and the Platter Company from Burlington, along with Wellington Square United Church joined in to support even more families. As of today, close to 1,000 Meals have been enjoyed by 66 families, including 260 individual family members in the two communities.
Thanks to the many donors, the campaign has not only helped the three restaurants and the church cover their food costs and support their staffing needs, but ArtHouse has been able to re-employ its special Arts Instructors who are producing On-line You-tubes ranging from Urban Dance Programs to Visual Arts as well as running Interactive Zoom Programs, all of which are reaching hundreds of young people.
The entire Team has worked tirelessly over the past few months during COVID-19 and all are hopeful that the campaign can continue until life becomes more normalized.
Don Pangman, Founder and Executive Director