Skip to main content

Ottawa Valley restaurants, customers pay it forward with pre-paid meals

A handful of locally owned restaurants in eastern Ontario are promoting pre-paid meals for those hungry and in need.

It's an initiative The Rocky Mountain House in Arnprior and Renfrew jumped onto this week.

"[Customers] pre-pay for a meal and then we will put the meal receipt up on a board," explains Rocky Mountain House owner Kimberley Limlaw.

"All the person has to do is come in, take the ticket off the board, come into the restaurant, hand it to the server and then the kitchen will prepare the meal for them free of charge."

The gesture, which is becoming a trend, comes as the price of groceries and dining out continues to climb, along with a growing homeless population.

In Pembroke, The Nelson Street Pub is also participating.

"If someone's hungry, struggling with kids, with bills, they are homeless, they can come in for a nice hot meal," said owner Corey Moorehead in a promotional video.

"Take this ticket and rip it off, you give to the server and then we start making the meal right away."

Since offering the meals only at the start of the week, Limlaw says her two restaurants have already had nine meals pre-paid for.

The receipts can be claimed no questions asked.

"Even if it's a sandwich and a bowl of soup," said Limlaw.

"It fills somebody up or lightens their day and puts a smile on the face."

The pay-it-forward trend comes at a time when food banks in the Ottawa Valley are seeing significant uptake.

"October of this year, compared to October of last year, we're up 50 per cent," said Pat Tait, manager of the Arnprior Food Bank.

"There is definitely a need out there. Whatever these restaurants are doing to help out those who cannot afford the food at these prices, it's just such a great idea."

In Cornwall, owner of Sip & Scoop Canada Jehan Shorish, is also offering pre-paid meals at her two locations.

"I think we can all, little by little, create a huge impact," Shorish told CTV News, when asked about the motivation behind helping those in need in the community.

"I feel like some people do need the help, but they're too shy to ask for it. They feel like they will be judged."

Other participating restaurant locations in Ottawa and the surrounding area can write to CTV News Ottawa who will be compiling a list of locations. Top Stories

Grocer profits set to exceed record in 2023, expert says, ahead of committee meeting

Profits in the Canadian grocery sector will likely exceed $6 billion in 2023, setting a new record as they rise eight per cent from last year, according to the Centre for Future Work. New research by the progressive research institute found that food retailers are now earning more than twice as much profit as they did pre-pandemic.

Stay Connected