News / Ottawa

Mealshare program to expand in Ottawa

The charity provides a meal to a youth in need when you order one of the designated dishes from participating restaurants.

Mariam Zohouri, Ottawa organizer for MealShare, reads the menu inside Pure Kitchen on Elgin Street. Next month Pure's two restaurant locations will join a list of seven other new restaurants partnering for the cause.

Haley Ritchie

Mariam Zohouri, Ottawa organizer for MealShare, reads the menu inside Pure Kitchen on Elgin Street. Next month Pure's two restaurant locations will join a list of seven other new restaurants partnering for the cause.

Five months after launching in Ottawa, non-profit MealShare is celebrating eight new restaurant partners in the city and over a million meals provided to hungry youth.

“We’ve been really lucky with how things have gone in Ottawa,” said spokesperson Mariam Zohouri. “In June, we had the biggest launch we’ve had across Canada, we had the largest number of restaurants come on board.”

Inside participating restaurants, one or two options on a menu are deemed “ mealshare ” options, designated by a special logo. If a customer purchases that item the restaurant will make a donation amounting to one meal for a youth in need.

“The restaurants that come on board really care about this and their community, they see it as a vehicle for change, so the price of menu items are not increased,” said Zohouri.

When the organization launched last summer it had 13 local restaurants participating. Since that launch, Ottawa diners have bought over 11,514 meals through the program.

Next month eight more restaurants will come on board as the organization celebrates a million meals given nationwide.

New partners range from the formal to the casual and include 10Fourteen, Andaz Hotel’s Feast + Revel, Art Is In Bakery, Black Cat Bistro, Coconut Lagoon, Industria and Pure Kitchen.

Each meal purchased amounts to one meal for a young person who may not be getting that food at home.

“It’s always meals that we’re funding, we don’t just donate money directly to the charity. We really believe in using meals as the vehicle for change,” said Zohouri. “We really believe in supporting organizations with the passion and the experience, because funding can be one of the hardest things for charities to get.”

In Ottawa, the organization has teamed up with Operation Come Home and the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa to supply meals as part of regular programming. Internationally MealShare is partnered with Save the Children Canada.

In each program the result is more kids getting the fuel they need – but Zohouri said it also offers incentive to participate in homework clubs and employment workshops.

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