Volunteer group serving meals in east Scarborough outgrows its space

Community Sep 07, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

People line up outside 4100 Lawrence Ave. E. to get a free bag of groceries from the food bank.

They wait for hours, get assigned a random number, then wait again.

But while they're waiting, 5n2 Kitchens is there, three times each week, in cramped rooms at the base of this Kingston-Galloway apartment tower, giving people a hot meal.

The volunteer group has grown over four years to serve more than 800 scratch-cooked meals a week in Kingston-Galloway-Orton (KGO) Park, but last month told supporters its future is in doubt without a new home kitchen.

“We want to be in the community. We want to be in the middle of this area, where we can give our clients more support,” founder Seema David said as 5n2 and helpers from the building handed people bowls of chili or spaghetti squash.

“People without jobs in the community are going hungry.”

Originally from Chennai, South India, David and her husband Roopan met families who came to Scarborough without savings.

Many were going to food banks, or staying quiet about their needs. Most city services addressing hunger, such as soup kitchens, were downtown.

The Davids worship at Global Kingdom Ministries, a Markham Road church, and using its kitchen in 2014, they started making soup and serving it to people at East Scarborough Storefront.

5n2 grew from there. At 4100 Lawrence, it’s greatly appreciated, though its volunteers are only there an hour — they go to serve other meals at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church nearby, while the food’s still warm.

Mohammed Raffik said many in the queue at 4100 Lawrence are senior citizens or on disability. “They’re sick, and they have no one to take care of them,” he said after getting chili last week.

“People with mental illnesses, a lot of the time, they don’t feed themselves or cook,” added Jelese Bush, one of many building residents who volunteers to help 5n2.

Marisa Roberto said she’s seen the food bank line grow. “A lot of people are shamed,” Roberto said on why hunger in KGO isn’t widely known.

Last month, 5n2 launched a GoFundMe campaign, announcing it “will close its doors in 2018” without a new facility, because the church won’t have room for the expanding operation.

“We were told we have to go, but we weren’t given a timeline,” said David, who met church management on Aug. 29 and said it’s now unclear when 5n2 must go.

Godfrey Adderly, the church’s missions pastor, said 5n2 had misunderstood the situation. “We have reassured them and reasserted our commitment to house them for the foreseeable future,” Adderly said.

During 5n2’s expansion, however, Global Kingdom, with 2,000 congregants, hasn’t used the kitchen any less, and the church supports the group’s search for a larger home, said Adderly.

Preparing meals at the church means battling for space, with storage limited and menus constantly changing.

Still, David believes the work is “what I feel I’ve been called to do.”

With enough funds, 5n2 can do more than deliver meals. It can teach people to prepare them, and help them budget with nutrition in mind, she said.

Volunteer group serving meals in east Scarborough outgrows its space

GoFundMe campaign aims to help fund larger home

Community Sep 07, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

People line up outside 4100 Lawrence Ave. E. to get a free bag of groceries from the food bank.

They wait for hours, get assigned a random number, then wait again.

But while they're waiting, 5n2 Kitchens is there, three times each week, in cramped rooms at the base of this Kingston-Galloway apartment tower, giving people a hot meal.

The volunteer group has grown over four years to serve more than 800 scratch-cooked meals a week in Kingston-Galloway-Orton (KGO) Park, but last month told supporters its future is in doubt without a new home kitchen.

Related Content

“We want to be in the community. We want to be in the middle of this area, where we can give our clients more support,” founder Seema David said as 5n2 and helpers from the building handed people bowls of chili or spaghetti squash.

“People without jobs in the community are going hungry.”

Originally from Chennai, South India, David and her husband Roopan met families who came to Scarborough without savings.

Many were going to food banks, or staying quiet about their needs. Most city services addressing hunger, such as soup kitchens, were downtown.

The Davids worship at Global Kingdom Ministries, a Markham Road church, and using its kitchen in 2014, they started making soup and serving it to people at East Scarborough Storefront.

5n2 grew from there. At 4100 Lawrence, it’s greatly appreciated, though its volunteers are only there an hour — they go to serve other meals at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church nearby, while the food’s still warm.

Mohammed Raffik said many in the queue at 4100 Lawrence are senior citizens or on disability. “They’re sick, and they have no one to take care of them,” he said after getting chili last week.

“People with mental illnesses, a lot of the time, they don’t feed themselves or cook,” added Jelese Bush, one of many building residents who volunteers to help 5n2.

Marisa Roberto said she’s seen the food bank line grow. “A lot of people are shamed,” Roberto said on why hunger in KGO isn’t widely known.

Last month, 5n2 launched a GoFundMe campaign, announcing it “will close its doors in 2018” without a new facility, because the church won’t have room for the expanding operation.

“We were told we have to go, but we weren’t given a timeline,” said David, who met church management on Aug. 29 and said it’s now unclear when 5n2 must go.

Godfrey Adderly, the church’s missions pastor, said 5n2 had misunderstood the situation. “We have reassured them and reasserted our commitment to house them for the foreseeable future,” Adderly said.

During 5n2’s expansion, however, Global Kingdom, with 2,000 congregants, hasn’t used the kitchen any less, and the church supports the group’s search for a larger home, said Adderly.

Preparing meals at the church means battling for space, with storage limited and menus constantly changing.

Still, David believes the work is “what I feel I’ve been called to do.”

With enough funds, 5n2 can do more than deliver meals. It can teach people to prepare them, and help them budget with nutrition in mind, she said.

Volunteer group serving meals in east Scarborough outgrows its space

GoFundMe campaign aims to help fund larger home

Community Sep 07, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

People line up outside 4100 Lawrence Ave. E. to get a free bag of groceries from the food bank.

They wait for hours, get assigned a random number, then wait again.

But while they're waiting, 5n2 Kitchens is there, three times each week, in cramped rooms at the base of this Kingston-Galloway apartment tower, giving people a hot meal.

The volunteer group has grown over four years to serve more than 800 scratch-cooked meals a week in Kingston-Galloway-Orton (KGO) Park, but last month told supporters its future is in doubt without a new home kitchen.

Related Content

“We want to be in the community. We want to be in the middle of this area, where we can give our clients more support,” founder Seema David said as 5n2 and helpers from the building handed people bowls of chili or spaghetti squash.

“People without jobs in the community are going hungry.”

Originally from Chennai, South India, David and her husband Roopan met families who came to Scarborough without savings.

Many were going to food banks, or staying quiet about their needs. Most city services addressing hunger, such as soup kitchens, were downtown.

The Davids worship at Global Kingdom Ministries, a Markham Road church, and using its kitchen in 2014, they started making soup and serving it to people at East Scarborough Storefront.

5n2 grew from there. At 4100 Lawrence, it’s greatly appreciated, though its volunteers are only there an hour — they go to serve other meals at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church nearby, while the food’s still warm.

Mohammed Raffik said many in the queue at 4100 Lawrence are senior citizens or on disability. “They’re sick, and they have no one to take care of them,” he said after getting chili last week.

“People with mental illnesses, a lot of the time, they don’t feed themselves or cook,” added Jelese Bush, one of many building residents who volunteers to help 5n2.

Marisa Roberto said she’s seen the food bank line grow. “A lot of people are shamed,” Roberto said on why hunger in KGO isn’t widely known.

Last month, 5n2 launched a GoFundMe campaign, announcing it “will close its doors in 2018” without a new facility, because the church won’t have room for the expanding operation.

“We were told we have to go, but we weren’t given a timeline,” said David, who met church management on Aug. 29 and said it’s now unclear when 5n2 must go.

Godfrey Adderly, the church’s missions pastor, said 5n2 had misunderstood the situation. “We have reassured them and reasserted our commitment to house them for the foreseeable future,” Adderly said.

During 5n2’s expansion, however, Global Kingdom, with 2,000 congregants, hasn’t used the kitchen any less, and the church supports the group’s search for a larger home, said Adderly.

Preparing meals at the church means battling for space, with storage limited and menus constantly changing.

Still, David believes the work is “what I feel I’ve been called to do.”

With enough funds, 5n2 can do more than deliver meals. It can teach people to prepare them, and help them budget with nutrition in mind, she said.