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Photo by Michael Stern on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

Buy a meal, share a meal with someone in need

By Amanda Armstrong on June 13, 2016

Food insecurity is a growing concern, both nationally and internationally. According to the 2014 Hunger Report, roughly 35% of all annual food bank use across Ontario was by youth under the age of 18. According to the Hunger Count 2015, 54% of food banks across Canada reported an increase in food bank use over 2014. Of those the food banks helped, more than ⅓ of them were youth. On a global scale, the World Hunger Education Service reports that, internationally, nearly 3.1 million children die annually due to hunger.

In response to such devastating statistics, best friends Jeremy Bryant and Andrew Hall launched a non-profit organisation called Mealshare. Since its inception in July 2013, Mealshare has partnered with over 200 restaurants in 7 cities; including Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Halifax. Together, they have been able to provide meals for over 703, 140 youth in need.

On June 14th, 2016, a group of Ottawa restaurants will partner in the fight against youth food insecurity, taking part in the biggest Mealshare launch to date. Nine Ottawa restaurants will join forces with teams of other restaurants in cities across Canada to do their part in helping to combat youth hunger on a global scale. This Tuesday, these nine restaurants will pave the forefront of Mealshare’s Ottawa contingent. These nine restaurants are Albion Rooms, CRAFT Beer Market, North and Navy, Petit Bill’s Bistro, The Red Lion, Social, The Shore Club, Smoke’s Poutinerie, and Thyme and Again.

So how does Mealshare work? The concept is simple. Restaurants across Canada partner with Mealshare and select a few dishes from their menu be identified as “Mealshare Menu Items”. Beside these menu items will be a Mealshare logo. Each time someone eats at a partnered restaurant and orders an identified “Mealshare Menu Item”, Mealshare will give funds to their community partners, which will go towards providing a meal to a youth in need. The partnership comes at no cost to the restaurant patron, yet they know that, by having chosen a “Mealshare Menu Item”, they have contributed to ending the fight against youth hunger within their city, their country, and their planet.

Within Ottawa, Mealshare is partnering with local non-profit Operation Come Home, to help provide meals for homeless youth in the city, as well as Save the Children, who provide meals to youth in need on an international scale. Half of all meals donated through Ottawa’s Mealshare restaurant partners will go to helping youth locally, through Operation Come Home, whereas the other half will help provide meals for youth internationally, through Save the Children.

The Shore Club was one of the first Ottawa restaurants to partner with Mealshare in their aim to turn eating out into helping out. As such, Mealshare’s Ottawa launch will take place at The Shore Club in Ottawa on Tuesday night at 5pm. Mayor Jim Watson will be in attendance for the big event. For more information about the Ottawa launch, see their press release. You can also find Mealshare on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.