Thursday, January 15, 2015

Vancouver Restaurant Offers Free Meals to 50 Needy Residents

by Nomad

Matthew Robinson, reporter for the Vancouver Sun, tells us how the owner of one waterfront restaurant has decided to open his doors to the most needy in the community.
Now he is encouraging other restaurants to do the same.

Last Wednesday, Derek Oelmann and his staff at Vancouver's False Creek restaurant, Ten Ten Tapas,  hosted 50 low income and homeless people who live in the neighborhood. It was not the first time. Oelmann opened his doors twice since last December. 

In an interview, Oelmann said:
“What I’d like to see is this replicated by other restaurants...We did this relatively easily and inexpensively and could you (restaurateurs), once a month, open up your doors to the community?”
The idea is the flip side to new laws in the US against private citizens feeding the homeless.  Oelmann admits that there were some residents who were not exactly pleased. Homeless shelters have also had some of the locals upset apparently. However, other restaurant owners and private citizens have offered to help.

Oelmann teamed up with a local community relief group, Gathering Place Community Centre, to handle the logistics, to ensure his good intentions reached the most vulnerable.

He also suggests in the interview that the policy has been a boost to the moral of the staff.
“Our staff morale is high, the chef is in a great mood because he’s helping people out ... it’s just been a real nice feel good thing,”
Vancouver restaurant opens its dining room to homeless
It's amazing how much food is wasted in the food industry In the United States. According to a 2010 USDA. an estimated 133 billion pounds of food from stores, restaurants and homes was wasted.  Part of the problem, as one organization points out, End Food Waste Now, is related to our culture.
The United States also cultivates a thriving fast food industry, and the consequences of producing cheap, ready-to-go food are careless food waste policies.
Another problem of restaurant waste revolves around portion size.
The American phenomenon of super-sizing food is one of the key trends contributing to restaurant waste.
And this also contributes to the obesity problem.

In cities like Los Angeles, where the numbers of homeless and low income residents would swamp a civic-minded restaurant owner, it is not exactly a practical idea. The solution would be a concerted effort by several dining establishments. 

Community involvement could offset the burden by offering patrons a "pre pay" service in which patrons could buy an additional meal (or a part of one) for those who cannot afford it.

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