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Ottawa Mission to serve one million meals in a year amid record demand

The Ottawa Mission is on track to serve more than one million meals this year as it sees a record number of families and children relying on its services.

"I've worked at the Ottawa Mission for 22 years. I've never seen anything like this before," says executive chef Ric Allen-Watson. "Last year we served just over 400,000 meals. This year we're going to be serving over a million meals."

The numbers were part of the Mission's annual impact report released Thursday.

"The demand for our services is greater than ever before, whether that's the food lineups, whether that's a lack of affordable housing. So people are staying in our shelter, people who we can't move on into housing," saya CEO Peter Tilley.

Ottawa Mission clients like Edward Tye, who has lived there for nearly seven months, says trying to find a place to rent has been nearly impossible.

"Just to find a one bedroom, it's upwards of $1,000. That's stupid," he says.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and housing crisis, the Ottawa Mission has managed to place more than 400 clients into homes since May 2019. However, the need for assistance remains pressing. 

Kristin Schilkie, the Ottawa Mission housing services manager, cites the financial challenges many clients face.

"They do have employment but due to the sky-high rental rates, they cannot afford the housing," said Schilkie. 

Tye is grateful for what the Mission provides him but hopes this is just a temporary situation.

"You can either, you know, put your money down to get a place and not eat. Or eat and not have a place," said Tye. Top Stories

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