‘What began as a single kitchen turned into 2,100 TONS of food.’: Man serves 15 million meals to homeless community during pandemic

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“Ladles of Love was founded in July 2014 on the basis of an ancient Sanskrit word ‘Seva,’ meaning giving of yourself and wanting nothing in return. After being inspired by this word, it all clicked into place for me working in the restaurant industry in the center of town—I realized how easy it was with the facilities I had to cook up a pot of soup and serve it to the homeless community around the city.

Man and boy sitting in front of a wall
Courtesy of Ladles of Love

What began as a single soup kitchen every Tuesday evening grew into four different kitchens, working with other beneficiaries who also had soup kitchens and started working with four different schools assisting the kids with food. Prior to lockdown, we were serving around 15,000 meals a month and processing around 1.2 tons of food a week.

Man with backwards hat
Courtesy of Ladles of Love

When the president announced the lockdown in March of 2020, it became very clear how Ladles of Love had to immediately become a part of the solution to avoid a humanitarian crisis. I had no idea how I was going to do it or where I was going to get the money. I just knew I had to get out there, so I did, taking one step at a time.

For some unknown reason, money and food donations began to start pouring in, and within two weeks we were processing almost ten tons of food a week. We also began encouraging people to make sandwiches from home, and by the end of April of 2020 we had outgrown the location we were working from and we were very lucky to receive a sponsorship from CTICC to use one of their 1500m2 halls. Our organization continued to mushroom, and by the middle of June of 2020, we were processing over 40 tons of food and served over 1,000,000 sandwiches.

Meals at a soup kitchen
Courtesy of Ladles of Love

Luck continued to come our way, and at the beginning of July of 2020, we moved into the 2500m2 Sun Exhibits Hall at the Grandwest Casino. Here, we have continued to grow to help over 138 beneficiaries with bulk parcels for their soup kitchens, and to date, we have served over 2,100 tons of food, over 4,300,000 sandwiches, and over 15,400,000 meals.

This for me has been what I like to say #HumanityInAction. Never before have I seen people from all around the world come together in kindness and help us achieve what we have in such a short time. As lockdown continues, the ripple effects of this pandemic are really starting to hit our shores as unemployment grows and the need increases. It is becoming increasingly challenging as donor fatigue sets in, but we continue the best that we can.

Little girl with mask giving a thumbs up
Courtesy of Ladles of Love

Time Period: Start of lockdown (March 2oth, 2020-May 23rd, 2021 [inclusive]):

Hot meals and breakfasts: 324,721
Sandwiches: 4,363,303
Eggs: 404,832
Bulk produce and groceries: 4,290,806 pounds
Farm vegetables: 6,424 pounds

The above equates to a total of 15,414,859 meals.”

Boy happy eating his soup
Courtesy of Ladles of Love

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by the Ladles of Love team. You can follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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