Tiny Home Takeout

January 28, 2021

 

'The food is for everyone' — downtown Kitchener church offers takeout meals from a tiny home

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Kitchener is serving up hot pizza and soups from a tiny home in its parking lot.

KITCHENER — Grab a bite, give if you can — that's the slogan for a new takeout food project run by St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church from a tiny home in its downtown Kitchener parking lot.

The tiny home is decorated with bright, sparkly lights and staffed by cheerful organizers blasting oldies tunes.

On Tuesday, braving the snowy cold evening in winter attire, they happily attended to an early rush of hungry diners while also reaching out to any curious passersby.

Would they prefer a fresh cheese or Margherita pizza? Oh, and do they want a serving of hot vegan chili to take with them?

Nearby construction workers, bundled up in a pickup truck were even offered a meal. After a few bites one of them shouted a thank you from the parked truck and compliments to the chef for the tasty pie.

"The food is for everyone," said Father Toby Collins, the force behind the St. Mary's Tiny Home Takeout project, which launched this week.

Donations are welcomed to keep the project going but no one is expected to pay.

"We're stronger together as a community and stronger when we lift others up," said Hayley Duff, who came out to get a pizza and show her support for the project.

On opening day, organizers darted back and forth from the snow covered tiny home to the newly renovated church kitchen carrying warm thermal containers holding pizzas and takeout bowls of vegan chili accompanied by focaccia for dipping.

In the weeks leading up to the launch, Chef Amy Cyr was busy in the kitchen testing potential menu items.

"She wants to make it so that it's good food, it's quality food, but it's really tasty so that everybody has access to something that's high quality," said Collins.

Anyone is able to come and pick up a meal, which is offered five days a week — Tuesday to Saturday — from 5 to 7 p.m. from the tiny home in front of the church.

A variety of pizzas are being offered including cheese, pepperoni, Margherita, and a combination pizza of green peppers, mushrooms and pepperoni. There are vegan and gluten-free options available.

The kitchen also serves up a "daily bite," which is a freshly made, daily special. On Tuesday the kitchen offered chili and on Wednesday, puréed potato and leek soup.

Volunteers help Cyr with food preparation during the day.

"At five o'clock we go out, we turn the sign on and we get (out) as much food as we can in those two hours," she said.

The inspiration for the project came about a year and a half ago, explained Collins. The church community spoke with Joe Mancini of The Working Centre about how it could leverage its resources — the idea to renovate the church hall with a full kitchen as well as bathrooms, a shower and laundry machines was born.

With support from Bishop Douglas Crosby from the Diocese of Hamilton, parishioners and other community partners, it was possible.

The renovations were completed at the end of 2020, but to keep people safe during the pandemic, it was decided "takeout was the best way to get food to everyone in our community who wants a decent meal," explained Collins.

"Down the road, we hope to use it as a place where everybody can come and if people need to clean up they can," Collins said of the renovated hall.

Months and months of hard work paid off this week with the launch of the takeout service.

"I think its very meaningful," he said, reflecting on the project.

"In a new way we can live out our faith and give even more people access to the love and inclusion that is present in the scriptures we read every Sunday."

For the Tiny Home Takeout menu and details about how to support the project, visit tinyhometakeout.com.