Tiny homes, big impact: Tiny Home Takeout feeds thousands annually

It’s a simple premise: provide quality meals out of a tiny house, even if the customer has no money.

That’s the idea behind Tiny Home Takeout at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in downtown Kitchener and as the operation grows, so does the impact.

Tiny Home Takeout launched two satellite locations this week to serve even more people.

Front of House, Outreach Coordinator, Michelle Lantink told CityNews Kitchener that the summer pilot project has already proved successful.

“What we’re finding is that we’re accessing another demographic; people that couldn’t come to us before are now starting to show up.”

Lantink said some people were travelling for more than an hour to access the original Tiny Home Takeout location on Duke Street.

“So we looked at where are the high-density, populated areas where we have affordable housing. And we found three locations and decided to pilot a tiny home in two of those locations to see what would happen if we could bring the food to them, as opposed to them having to come to us.”

Lantink had one word to describe the reaction to the expansion.

“Gratitude. Absolute gratitude,” said Lantink. “Before we started serving they just said ‘thank you so much for coming here’ — in fact, one of the people that was standing in the line is one of our regular guests that tries to come out to the downtown core but can’t. And so now we’re coming to him and he is thrilled, so thrilled.”

As for the future of the initiative and whether the satellite locations will become permanent, Lantink said everything is on the table.

For now, the pilot project is expected to continue until the end of summer and early fall. After that, organizers will assess and determine what lies ahead.

Tiny Home Takeout offers meals on a ‘give if you can’ basis — meaning it’s free for people who can’t afford food.

Lantink said there have been many instances where struggling customers who can’t pay one day, return another day to make a donation because they’re so appreciative. Others simply head to the ‘tiny house’ for the delicious, homemade food being offered and to support a good cause.

Lantink noted they are a donation-run organization and it’s costing around $700,000 annually to keep the food flowing.

“We’re reaching 69,000 people a year at this point in time,” said Lantink. “We serve homemade food every day, it’s freshly made. It’s calzones that are served; we have six types of calzones to choose from so you have choice, and you get a bite of the day. In the summer it’s a salad and in the fall and winter months, it’s a soup.”

You can donate to Tiny Home Takeout and learn about volunteering opportunities by clicking here.

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