Feeding families

An Ontario club helps feed the hungry with a state-of-the-art kitchen.

Story by Wendy Rose Gould

Giving a meal to those without is a noble way to provide for a community. The Kiwanis Club of Owen Sound in Ontario, Canada, took things further by donating an entire kitchen.

The 55-person club donated CA$100,000 to the Owen Sound Hunger and Relief Effort (OSHaRE), a local nonprofit that recently moved to a larger space. 

“The OSHaRE organization offers one evening meal per night, Monday through Friday, to people in need,” says President Michelle Kobryn. “They are supported by volunteers, funded through donations and are an appreciated part of our city.”

OSHaRE’s move — along with the new, industrial-grade cooking equipment purchased by the club — allows the organization to serve more people. Specifically, the commercial-grade kitchen improves the ability to keep food fresher, to more efficiently prepare larger quantities of food and to better serve and clean up after meals.  

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“Many of our members already volunteered at OSHaRE once a month. Through their service, they have seen firsthand what it means for a parent or caregiver to be able to enjoy a meal with their children in a safe and nonjudgmental space,” says Kobryn. 

She adds that such donations allow OSHaRE leadership to focus more on delivering services versus fundraising. And this particular one also fosters a meaningful relationship between OSHaRE and the club, and between the club and the community. 

For a single nonprofit to raise CA$100,000 is no small feat. The club was able to do so through several long-standing fundraisers, many of which are beloved by the community. It owns and operates a campground that provides a base level of annual donations. This year also will mark the club’s 70th year selling Christmas trees, its 75th year of operating the Santa Claus Parade and its 81st year running a local music festival.

“The OSHaRE donation was one of nine we announced this year, representing a total of over CA$150,000 for the year,” Kobryn says. “It takes all of our membership to reach totals like this year over year, and the consistent thread that runs through our membership is community-mindedness. We try to be active and present in as many ways as we can so that our capacity to give back gets even stronger.”


This story originally appeared in the April/May issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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