Drive-through Café Gives Vulnerable People Access to a Hot Meal

Volunteers prepare food for community cafe

Every other Tuesday in Marystown, Newfoundland and Labrador, volunteers at The Salvation Army serve anyone who needs a hot meal—no questions asked.

“It is a good feeling to help where we can and connect with the community,” says Linda Stockley, community and family services worker. “The café, is a safe space where everyone is treated with respect and welcomed.”

Stockley says the feeding program has been a successful initiative that was developed in 2019 after a community partner provided funds for the church to install a commercial kitchen. Before long, 150-200 people from all walks of life were enjoying a sit-down, buffet style meal. Today, due to COVID-19 restrictions, hot items such as meat and potatoes, goulash and macaroni and cheese are offered as takeaways at an outdoor table.

“The café, is a safe space where everyone is treated with respect and welcomed”

“This is our hot meal for the week,” says a single parent.  “If I wasn’t here, I would be eating alone and I do that three times a day, every day,” says a senior. “Once rent and bills are paid, there isn’t alot left over,” says a low-income mother.

Unfortunately, there are some days when the program doesn’t have enough funds to cover the price of food.

“When you get to know people, you realize needs”

“It costs between $400 to $500 for a meal depending on what is on sale,” says Stockley. “Sometimes people sponsor us, which really helps out.”

Stockley’s vision for the future is to extend the Army’s reach to support vulnerable children with feeding programs such as breakfasts and summer assistance.

“When you get to know people, you realize needs,” says Linda. “We want people to feel hopeful and know they are not alone in their struggles.”


By Linda Leigh