Wednesday was an exciting and important day for The Dep, the realization of a project that an amazing group of volunteers have been working on for many weeks. The idea was simple: there were many Syrian refugee families stuck in hotels awaiting relocation, often for weeks on end, with no access to kitchens. Could we make The Dep available to them so they could cook food for their themselves and their families, in a fun, social setting?
It was more challenging than expected to find a way to connect with the community of families in the hotels, navigating bureaucratic and language barriers, but thanks to the hard work of some amazing people including Rahaf & Esmaeel Al Akabani and Yasmine Nasef from The Welcome Project, Mahmoud Allouch and Roula Ajib from the Arab Community Centre, and the incredible support of Caroline Keenan, Andrea Diaz Varela, Cara Benjamin-Pace, Michelle Krasny (who also took these great photos) and Basil AlZeri, it all came together.
The day was a big success, with nearly a dozen mothers, young and old, coming together to cook and hang out and share a meal. The goal is to try and make this a regular event at The Dep, and once they get comfortable in the space, to invite them to make extra food that can be made available for sale for pick-up or delivery, providing them a revenue stream and entrepreneurial opportunity. There are still lots of logistical issues to figure out, from transportation to scheduling to child care to translation, but if today’s success is any indication, this amazing group will figure it all out.
As we figure out new ways to help this project along, we may be reaching out to our community for support. To stay up to date on the project as it evolves, check in on https://thedepanneur.ca/category/newcomerkitchen/