As members of our neighbourhood, our city and our world, we feel a responsibility to contribute to the health and well-being of ourselves and those around us.
The most effective and immediate way for us to achieve this is by making every effort to buy food supplies from local producers in our region who grow delicious food in ecologically friendly ways.
We participate actively in our communities, and donate food and services to a few specific organizations where we have an opportunity to feed quality food to those in need.
The gift that continues to give. In our business we meet a lot of people who are struggling with illness and loss. Food is comfort, and when a family is in crisis, people give food. In 2008 a very large gift of Red Apron store credit was made to a gentleman who had lost his wife to cancer. Because he did not feel he would be able to use all of this gift himself, he paid it forward to a family in his community who was struggling with their own battle with cancer.
In 2009 the Jude family’s eldest son, Bryce, was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of leukemia. Throughout their battle, the family routinely stocked up on food at the Red Apron using the store credit that had been gifted to them and often bringing food to other families at CHEO. After a 3-year battle and at the tender age of 7, Bryce Jude earned his wings in September of 2012. During their struggle, we got to know the Jude family and their circle of friends and supporters, and worked with them to provide Christmas Dinners to the Oncology ward at CHEO, and assisted Dev as she purchased food for other families dealing with their own battles. But we wanted to do more. Their family’s extreme compassion, generosity and courage has inspired the Red Apron to partner with the Candlelighters’ to create Red Apron Candlelight Dinners with the goal of providing healthy, nutritious and convenient foods to every family in the region facing their own battle with childhood cancer. We dedicate this program to the memory of Bryce Jude. Candlelighters was established in 1988 as part a network of local and parent support groups. Candlelighters is a not-for-profit volunteer organization that provides programs and services for young cancer patients being treated in Eastern Ontario and to those they depend on for strength and support. Through fundraising and an annual commitment of money, the Red Apron has created an account that is be used to provide food to the families identified to us by Candlelighter’s. To date we have have provided these families with over $14,000 in meals.
How can you help? You can donate directly to this program, or transfer any unused credit on your account, or un-used gift card balances, or contribute to our tip jar at the counter in store.
Since 2017, the Red Apron has sponsored up to 6 youth from Ottawa to attend the this program, operating on over 100 acres of land located on Camp Amy Molson in Grenville sur la Rouge, Quebec. With a mandate of providing land-based learning experience for marginalized youth (specifically low-income, immigrant, black, indigenous, and Asian youth) they aim to create a program that nourishes awareness, compassion, and capacity of participants and staff, while valorizing their ancestral knowledge systems. The camp aims to connect youth to the land in meaningful ways, and inspiring youth to connect with the healing power of food. This camp offers a wonderful opportunity for inner city youth to spend a week learning about organic farming, wilderness skills, dance, music, and arts.
Harmony House is the only second-stage women’s shelter in Ottawa. For 25 years, they have provided safe, affordable transitional housing for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Every two-weeks the residents gather together for an evening meal to share information and provide each other with support. The Red Apron provides a healthy, nutritious meal for these evenings. If you would like to provide your support to Harmony House, visit www.harmonyhousews.com
Mealshare partners with restaurants and food businesses, who place their logo next to a few menu items. When a customer buys a ‘Mealshare Item’, they get their meal, and Mealshare provides one meal to a youth in need! Buy one, give one – it’s that simple! For each Red Apron Mealshare item sold, we donate $1.00 to Mealshare. Each month we forward along those funds to Mealshare, who forwards them to one of their partner charities. In Ottawa, this included Operation Come Home and the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.
Growing Futures with Parkdale Food Centre
Growing Futures is a social enterprise, using innovative growing systems (Garden Towers) to produce, market, and sell fresh produce to the local food service industry. It’s impact is multi-fold. By linking local businesses, schools and community partners, Growing Futures brings business role models into places where children learn. The first phase of Growing Futures began with the purchase of 10 garden towers, each tower placed in a school, recreation centre or after-school program. The Red Apron has sponsored one garden tower in the 4th grade class at Connaught School. Through ongoing involvement, the kids are learning how to grow food, while creating a small business enterprise around this activity. We hope that this activity will teach the kids lifelong skills in self sufficiency, both from a the perspective of feeding themselves, while developing a finer understanding of how business works.
The Parkdale Food Centre is an organization that we have had an ongoing relationship with for the last few years. They believe that everyone should have access to healthy, nutritious food and focuses on providing fresh, local, wholesome foods to our neighbours in need. We have provided nutritional education and cooking classes to show how simple ingredients can be transformed into fresh and flavorful meals. We have fostered relationships between their organization and local farmers, donated food for their cupboards, and volunteer time for specific initiatives and activities.