Most of Sun Youth’s programs and initiatives were developed to answer a specific need in the community. Such is the case of our collective kitchen. It was started 4 years ago as a way to offer a new type of service to our clientele and to encourage their food autonomy and security. Its popularity has been growing ever since. “All kinds of people take part in Sun Youth’s collective kitchen”, says Fenia Jeudy who coordinates the service. “Many are newcomers, immigrants or refugees. For them it’s a great way to integrate the Quebec society, but also to learn new recipes and meet new people. It gives them a chance to break their routine and break out of isolation.” Fenia also found that participants use this opportunity to exchange useful information such as where to find work or other assistance resources they know about. Meanwhile, many will also bring their own recipes to the table, allowing for a culinary exchange among people of different cultures. Participants have lunch together and then get to take home 3 meal portions for everyone in their family.
This is perfect for people on a tight budget, allowing them to concentrate their limited financial resources on other essential expenses. The collective kitchen is active three days a week: Tuesdays and Wednesdays for Sun Youth’s regular clientele while Thursdays are for the group of intellectually challenged workers responsible for the sorting at our used clothing bank. In addition to giving them a change from their everyday work, it provides them with new abilities they can apply in their supervised living environment. “They really enjoy this activity and are so proud of accomplishing something on their own”, says Fenia. “I also take great pride in working with them!” The collective kitchen was in fact originally started with this group as a pilot project. As it was such a success, the service was extended to Sun Youth’s regular clientele.
The service has greatly benefited from our organization’s recent move from St. Urbain Street to Parc Avenue. We now have a brand new kitchen equipped with all the appliances needed to prepare meals and enough space to accommodate many participants simultaneously. With the increase in popularity of the service and these new facilities we can expect a whole lot more meals prepared this year! Last year alone, the collective kitchen participants prepared 584 portions of varied meals, with an average of 3-4 participants at every session (about 80 sessions in 2018).
The collective kitchen is intended for anyone who cares about nutrition and keeping healthy food habits. It also gives participants an opportunity to get involved in the community sharing values of solidarity, equity, mutual support and social justice. As with most Sun Youth initiatives the service is free of charge. Those interested should contact Fenia Jeudy at 514-842-6822 for more information and to sign up. Bon appétit!
Fenia Jeudy welcomes everyone to Sun Youth’s Collective Kitchen. Photo: Joseph Munro.