Every Thursday, just before 5:30 PM, a throng of people can be found outside the doors to the Daily Bread cafeteria, eagerly waiting for the Community Meal to begin. As the doors open, guests are greeted by staff and volunteers dressed in their chef whites who guide them to their tables as they share the day’s menu. Diners are treated to a choice of meat or vegetarian main course, and optional sides of soup, salad, coffee, tea and of course a delicious dessert, all crafted with care by Chef Randy and his team of volunteers.
While the community meal, free to all residents of the south Etobicoke area, was established to offer guests an opportunity to enjoy a warm meal in a restaurant setting, for many it represents so much more. “It’s good to have human interaction. I have depression and I self-isolate a lot; I spend most of my day by myself, and it’s important to have this sense of community,” says Kristin, a regular diner at the community meal. “It’s actually helped a lot with my mental health.”
This year alone, guests have enjoyed almost 1,700 meals consisting of hearty soups and casseroles to curries and pastas. Roy, another regular guest, shares, “I don’t have to cook, it’s ready and it’s very well served but most of all, you can tell the food is made with L O V E.”
Alongside a nourishing dinner, staff are also on hand to connect guests who experience hardships beyond hunger with additional resources relating to housing, employment, and more through our information and referrals services as part of our rights-based approach to service.
Daily Bread’s Community Meal is held every Thursday, with dinner service from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at 191 New Toronto Street – guests can enter via the Welcome Centre. If you are interested in attending, check-out this month’s menu here.