By Catriona Koenig
Before COVID-19, a large source of Kanata Legion Branch 638’s funding came from renting out their hall for events. Because they also catered some of these events, and offered fish and chips for lunch each Friday, people started to recognize the Legion as a place to get a good meal.
“Every Friday, Legion members and high-tech people would come, because they knew that every Friday we served fish and chips. But that’s not happening anymore,” says Debby Holden, chair of the Kanata Legion’s Means and Ways Committee.
The branch decided to start doing monthly takeout meals in the fall of 2020. The Kanata Legion is run entirely by volunteers, and each month they come together to plan a special dinner for the community. Debby says that the dinners “have been really successful, and it’s supporting our Legion in a way where we don’t need to struggle to pay the bills.”
They had October turkey pot pies, steak dinner in November, chicken dinner in December, and their famous fish and chips in January. Their latest meal was a February Valentine’s Day dinner, which included homemade lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and cheesecake for $15 per person.
Shirley Yakabuski, a member of the Kanata community, has ordered every takeout dinner since they began. She says the Valentine’s lasagna meal was a treat to receive.
“I never make lasagna, because it’s a lot of work, so it’s a treat for me. I’m sure they’re going to do something in March and we’ll be ordering that too,” Shirley says.
Bruce Judge, the President of Branch 638, says that before COVID-19, the Kanata Legion offered free hall space to community and non-profit groups like the Kanata quilting club and Canadian Blood Services and also donated to many local organizations like women’s shelter Chrysalis House.
“That’s what we’re here for. Not only to serve our veterans, but to serve our community,” Bruce says.
If you want to purchase a meal, keep an eye on the Kanata Legion’s Facebook page where they post about the dinners and how you can order one. Their March meal has not been revealed yet, but when it is, be sure to pre-order well in advance! Since the Legion has limited staff, they can only make a certain number of dinners each month. For February, they stopped taking orders after 287 lasagnas.
“All the people that are organizing it, doing the promotions, planning the meals, preparing the meals, packaging the meals, standing out on the sidewalk for curbside pickup, and doing the finances, it’s all done by volunteers.” Debby says.
If you do end up purchasing a dinner, consider dropping one off at your neighbour’s, too. Debby says people often buy multiple meals to bring to family and friends. For the December meal, she says one customer bought 17 dinners and dropped them on the porches of their children and grandchildren.
“The dinners are just another way to keep in contact,” Bruce says.
From pre-order to pickup, you can tell that time and effort truly goes into the Kanata Legion Branch 638 takeout meals.
Kanata Legion Branch 638 is located at 70 Hines Road. Their monthly takeout meals are announced on their Facebook page and quantities are limited. They offer curbside pickup for all orders.