Services to seniors and lack of ethnic food choices are two huge gaps in our community food ecosystem. Our programs address those gaps in a sustainable and equitable way.

Ethnic Flavors
This program brings fresh and authentic ethnic meals to ethnocultural seniors, in partnership with the three agencies providing meals-on-wheels service across the city. 2,500 meals served annually Program partners:
  • Meals on Wheels Ottawa
  • Western-Ottawa Community Resource Centre
  • Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre
Ethnic Grocery Box

In collaboration with grassroot ethnocultural seniors’ groups, this program delivers a Grocery Box filled with ethnic ingredients and daily staples directly to the homes of ethnocultural seniors facing barriers. The two-week box covers 100% of their breakfast needs and roughly 40% of other meals.


Program partners:

  • Social Planning Council of Ottawa
  • Ethnocultural Seniors Groups
Healthy Aging Project

In collaboration with the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, this program will deliver 200 ethnic prepared meals every week to 50 seniors who are unable to regularly cook for themselves. 

8,000 meals served annually


Program partners:

  • Social Planning Council of Ottawa
  • Ethnocultural Seniors Groups
“ The food program has been fundamental in making a direct as well as an invaluable contribution to the quality of life of the seniors who are direct recipients of food staples that are essential components in the daily diet.”
Ana Maria Cruz Valderrama
Latino Group Leader

Children & Youth

One in 5 children in Ottawa face food insecurity; many of them have to skip a meal every day. In the absence of a National School Food Program, an affordability crisis for families and insufficient funding from the Province, thousands of children in Ottawa are going to bed hungry. Our after school dinner programs are bridging these gaps in several priority communities across the city.

Community Flavors Cafe

This after school dinner program provides a warm meal to children and youth. As part of the Building Safer Communities initiative, the City of Ottawa engages at-risk youth in afterschool programs to support their health and wellbeing, and to prevent them from engaging in criminal activities.


The program follows the academic calendar from September to June and provides 30,000 hot meals at six community centres in three priority neighbourhoods, in partnership with the Integrated Neighbourhood Services Teams (INST) at the City of Ottawa.

Summer Nutrition Program

This flagship program bridges the nutritional gap created each summer, when food programs are unavailable to families who are dependent on food programs during the academic year. In the absence of a Summer Nutrition Program many children would go without a regular supply of nutritious food, putting financial and mental stress on their families.  In its debut year in 2023, the Summer Nutrition Program delivered over 20,000 hot lunches to children and youth enrolled in free summer camps across 21 sites in the city

Watch the community response Impact report
Students Will All Graduate (SWAG)

Operated by the Carlington Community Health Centre, the SWAG program is a community-based student support program designed to increase the high school graduation rate of students identified as most at risk of not graduating without intervention. Nutrition Blocs provides approximately 6000 hot and nutritious meals to youth throughout the academic year as well as their summer camp program.

Leaders in Training (LIT)

Operated by Christie Lake Kids, the LIT program offers quality experiences for youth ages 13-18 from low-income families, by matching them with a traines mentors who support them and encourage meaningful goal setting to help each participant realize personal success academically and career readiness.

Orkidstra: Empower kids. Build community

Orkidstra is a leadership development program that empowers kids to build a better community, through the medium of music. Our program offers weekly hot meals to youth musicians throughout the academic year, as well as when they are at summer camps.

Youth Drop-In

Operated by Vanier Community Service Centre, the Youth Drop-In engages youth aged 13-17 in series of recreational and cultural activities, to promote physical and mental wellness as well as offer them a safe environment during critical hours of the day where they are most vulnerable and at risk. This program also contributes to the positive development of teenagers by fostering the creation of social bonds with others and by acting as an information source in the community.

Kiwanis Aktion Club

Operated by the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, the Aktion Club is a service club for adults with disabilities, with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Club members become competent, capable, caring leaders through the vehicle of service. Our program provides a hot meals to the participants in a safe and inclusive environment.

“Food insecurity leaves an indelible mark on children’s wellbeing. Experiencing food insecurity at an early age is associated with childhood mental health problems, such as hyperactivity and inattention.Exposure to severe food insecurity (measured as child hunger) has been linked to increased risk of developing depression and suicidal ideation in adolescence and early adulthood Even in food-insecure households where experiences of food deprivation are reported only among adults, children still have higher risk of anxiety disorders and poorer mental health than those living in food-secure households.These findings help illustrate the profound health inequity associated with food insecurity and the broader material deprivation it denotes.” (PROOF, University of Toronto)

Community Cooking

We provide community cooking programs that bring vulnerable community members together. Under the guidance of our trained chefs, they learn and hone their culinary skills. It also provides an opportunity to explore new cuisines, socialize, make new friends, and enjoy a warm meal together.

Van Lang Community Cooking Program

Every other Monday – alternating between lunch and dinner – neighbours come together at the Van Lang Field House to cook and enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal. Working in partnership with Carlington Community Health Centre, community volunteers and a network of professional chefs, each meal is designed to promote social connection through food.

ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) Cooking Program

This on-site weekly cooking workshop for participants in the Carlington Community Health Centre’s ACT program, offers clients with essential cooking skills under the guidance of a community chef and provides them nutritious meals.


Food Transformation

Over 50% of food produced in Canada is lost or wasted with an estimated value of nearly $50 billion every year. Nearly a third of that food can be rescued and support food insecure communities in need. Nearly 1.4 million children in Canada do not have access to nutritious food. Our Food Transformation project coordinates timely rescue of excess food at grocery stores and other food businesses, and transforms them into warm meals for the community. Of the 50,000 meals we served in 2023, 40,000 were a result of Food Transformation, with food rescue amounting to about 35% of ingredients.

In 2022, 18% of Canadian families reported experiencing food insecurity in the past 12 months, up from 16% in 2021.

Upcoming 2024 projects

We are currently developing a school meals pilot focused on children and youth housed in temporary family shelters, many of which are motel rooms without kitchens or cooking facilities on the premises. The pilot project will deliver 30,000 lunches during the academic year.

Homeless Shelters & Harm Reduction Programs

We design and develop meal programs to individuals inadequately housed or at risk of homelessness. These meal programs also benefit clients visiting Harm Reduction Programs.

In 2023, we delivered over 20,000 meals to Belong Ottawa programs, including 10,000 meals to the Harm Reduction Program at Somerset-West Community Health Centre.

“The deprivation experienced by food-insecure households is not limited to food. By the time a household appears in these statistics, they are having trouble meeting other basic expenses. Food-insecure households compromise spending on other necessities, including housing and prescription medications.” (PROOF, University of Toronto)

Our Brands

Prepared Meals

Ethnic Grocery Box

Afterschool Dinner Programs

The risk of being food insecure was much higher among certain groups living below the poverty line. For instance, 62% of families living in subsidized housing were food insecure, over three times higher than the overall average (18%). Other vulnerable groups below the poverty line included female lone parent families (48%), families where the major income earner was unemployed all year (60%), Indigenous families living in the provinces and off reserve (48%), and Black Canadians (56%). Similar groups were at greater risk who were living above the poverty line.

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