Beginning in 2005, St. Aidan’s started hosting people experiencing homelessness in the colder months in Memorial Hall. The church community provided meals, entertainment and sleeping space, initially for 12 people and growing to 30 people overnight on Monday nights. In addition to feeding the overnight guests, we provided meals for an additional 55 people in the community who face food insecurity. When St. Aidan’s sold Memorial Hall, OOTC moved to Beach United on Wineva Avenue.
The overnight program closed in early March, 2020, due to Covid-19. In the Fall of 2020, volunteers began taking hot meals to encampments in Moss Park, Trinity-Bellwood’s, Alexandria parks and Allan Gardens. By the end of the program in April 2021 we were delivering more than 100 meals on Saturday afternoons.
With the city effectively closing overnight shelter programs, by changing its funding for support staff and by adding additional health regulations which we will not be able to meet, St. Aidan’s is going to focus on providing evening meals from the renovated church kitchen some time after the building reopens and we are able to familiarize ourselves with the kitchen, recruit sponsors and equip the eating area with tables and chairs.