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Martha’s Table pivots to home delivery with OTF grant

Volunteers from Martha’s Table show their appreciation for a $97,100 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). Screenshot from Martha’s Table YouTube video.

Martha’s Table held a virtual appreciation event on Tuesday, Jun. 8, 2021 to formally thank Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) for a $97,100 Resilient Community Grant.

The grant allowed Martha’s Table to purchase a van and to launch a food delivery program to bring food straight to the homes of vulnerable members of the Kingston community.

“The work that Martha’s Table does is so important to the community,” said Ian Arthur, MPP for Kingston and the Islands.

“Food security is intrinsically linked to health and economic well-being,” he added.

Arthur said that it was wonderful to see the program come to fruition with the help of the OTF grant.

“Accessing the vulnerable population where they exist is incredibly important. These are people without the capacity to arrive at locations where services exist,” he expressed.

Arthur explained that the ability to go mobile and to be able to access vulnerable members of the community in their homes—“where they’re comfortable, where they feel safe and secure”— is so important.

“I applaud Martha’s Table with this initiative,” he said, adding his appreciation for their work and for receiving the grant.

“I hope this is just the beginning of a dynamic program,” he added.

Kingston and the Islands MPP Ian Arthur. Screenshot taken during the virtual appreciation event on Tuesday, Jun. 8, 2021.

A program that delivers food and hope

“The door-to-door delivery program is the best program that we’ve launched since our inception in 1997—it’s delivering hope to those who’ve lost it,” said Ronda Candy, Executive Director of Martha’s Table.

“We knew prepared meals were necessary, but delivering them is so needed,” she added.
“It’s creating positive change to the city’s most vulnerable.”

Candy reported that 120 people a day benefit from the food delivery program five days a week, noting that their goal is to be able to reach 150 people per day by the end of the year.

“We know there are so many more who need this service,” she said.

Expansion of Services

Colleen Labelle, Martha’s Table program coordinator, said “we have started small, but we have grown so much.” Martha’s Table not only serves their regular clients, but have expanded to take many referrals from the community.

“We deliver far and wide, and we couldn’t do it without the hard work from all our staff in the kitchen and the generosity of the community who have donated food and kept us going,” Labelle said.

Colleen Labelle, Martha’s Table program coordinator, talked about volunteer and client experiences during the meeting.
Screenshot by Yona Harvey.

Labelle read some testimonials from volunteers:

“It brings me great joy to be a volunteer. I have experienced first-hand its value in providing nutritious meals to the most vulnerable,” wrote a volunteer driver.

“Our clients—many of whom are socially isolated—are so very appreciative of receiving meals at home. The service (not only) provides much-needed nurturing, but also social contact and support,” the volunteer added.

Another volunteer said that “(Martha’s Table) is so well organized. It is a rewarding feeling to know that someone had a warm meal to enjoy that day.”

Testimonials from Clients

Perhaps the most touching are the stories of how the program has impacted those on the receiving end.

One client wrote about how the program is a “Godsend” as they use a walker and live in a home with no elevator. “The volunteers bring my meal up,” the client said.

Another client revealed how they appreciated getting their meals delivered in the winter time as they “were so far out” from the city.

“Your delivery service helps me so much. I also get a meal for my neighbour. We don’t know what we would do (without Martha’s Table),” a thankful client wrote.

“We can’t afford meal deliveries,” the client added.

Ontario Trillium Foundation

MPP Ian Arthur, Martha’s Table Ronda Candy and Chris Grimshaw, OTF volunteer Titilope Adebola attend the meeting. Screenshot by Yona Harvey.

“The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario,” said Titilope Adebola, a volunteer representing OTF.

“Each year we are able to award over 600 grants to non-profit organizations that are doing great work in the community across the province,” she explained.

Adebola said that the Resilient Community Grant was created to help communities rebuild and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the grant, Martha’s Table was able to hire a coordinator to oversee an adapted food delivery program for vulnerable people, purchase safety equipment, and help with additional program costs.

“(During) the pandemic, Martha’s Table has successfully pivoted to free door-to-door delivery services to those who need it the most. It’s a great project,” said Adebola.

“I’m looking forward to seeing more of the impact in the community,” she added

Martha’s Table Executive Director Ronda Candy.
Screenshot by Yona Harvey

Powerful, impactful, desperately needed, and in some cases, lifesaving… thank you to the OTF for funding (the door-to-door program),” said Ronda Candy.

Candy talked about her appreciation of OTF’s contribution.

“(OTF’s contribution) can’t be summarized. It’s really making positive impact to the lives of so many people,” she said.

“The pandemic has forced us to pivot, but it has not slowed us down. We are busier than ever, unfortunately,” Candy added.

Candy also talked about a previous contribution that OTF had made in the past—financial support to install an elevator for accessibility.

“Powerful, impactful, desperately needed, and in some cases, lifesaving… thank you to the OTF for funding (the door-to-door program).

“(Thank you) to our board of directors for recognizing the need and helping us implement this program.

“(Thank you) to the amazing team of volunteers and staff who have been working in the front lines and putting themselves at an elevated risk, all to help others in need,” Candy said.

Martha’s Table’s mission is “to provide a caring place where people in need can have a nutritious meal and find the social support of a community of friends and volunteers,” according to their website.

For more information, call 613-546-0320 or visit http://www.marthastable.ca/. View Martha’s Table’s OTF Appreciation Video below.

Video via Martha’s Table on YouTube.
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