A non-profit based in Canada is bringing much-needed food and shelter to the homeless, by turning “dining out into helping out.” Founded by Jeremy Bryant and Andrew Hall, Mealshare works on a simple enough, ‘buy one, give one’ principle; when you buy dinner at a participating restaurant, a meal will be given to somebody who needs it.
Derek Juno, VP of Business Development at Mealshare, believes this programme offers a solution to the very real problem of poverty in Canada. “The diner who purchased it is not only providing a meal for themselves, but also for everyone else in need,” he says. “We see meals as a way to incentivise people to get into the door and once they’re in the door, then they are exposed to all these other amazing resources such as job training, counselling, addiction recovery, and housing.”
Mealshare originated in Alberta in 2013, and in each new city it partners with a different charity. The initiative has since taken off in Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax, and most recently Toronto, where 13 more restaurants have just signed up to participate. “We are on a mission to completely revolutionise the hospitality industry in Canada and we hope the Toronto community will play a big part of helping us accomplish that,” says Juno.
“They’re really transparent about where the money is going and you know if you give them $1, they will feed someone with that,” says Marion Scott, co-owner of Origin Bakery in Victoria, adding that many customers will make additional purchases once they are made aware it means another donation will be made to Mealshare.
Restaurants involved with Mealshare have donated more than 277,000 meals so far, but the goal is to reach 1 million meals across the country, aided by the ‘Road to 1 Million’ campaign.