Thunder Bay

Shelter House kitchen volunteer calls for more food prep help

A volunteer at Shelter House is calling for more people to join her in the kitchen preparing meals for clients.

Demand for take-out lunches and dinners rising due to COVID-19

Thunder Bay's Shelter House is in need of more volunteers to help out in the kitchen. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

A volunteer at Shelter House is calling for more people to join her in the kitchen preparing meals for clients.

Only four or five people work in the kitchen at any one time in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Mandi O'Connor said.

Those volunteers are not involved in serving the meals to clients, so they need not worry about encountering large crowds.

The dining room at the shelter is closed, and staff are only providing take-out meals.

Would-be volunteers don't need kitchen experience, O'Connor said, and they don't need to be skilled cooks to help.

"It's not like they have to worry about recipes and that sort of thing," she said. "It would just be coming in to help out. … You know, chop onions, prep apples… you know that was sort of my list this morning."

Demand for the meals has increased considerably since COVID-19 began spreading, O'Connor said.

"Over the course of the last three days, we've been averaging 150 meals for lunch, which is up dramatically," she said. "Usually lunch service has been 75 to 80 meals at lunch. Dinner time it's just up a bit. We normally have about 150 services or servings for dinner, and we seem to be hitting the 200 mark now."

So far, the shelter has had enough food to feed everyone thanks to generous donations from the community, O'Connor said.

However she is encouraging people to keep making cash donations to the facility so it can continue to meet the demand.

The shelter, she added, is facing increased expenses right now for take-out containers and cleaning supplies.

Anyone interested in volunteering at Shelter House can email volunteer@shelterhouse.on.ca.