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Chef Ryan in the kitchen at Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Halifax where the charity has tripled the number of meals it serves every day.SUPPLIED

In March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared, everyone was asked to stay home. But what if you didn’t have a home?

“Imagine if you spent your days at the local soup kitchen, the library or the park and your nights at a shelter or under a bridge? How could the homeless just stay home,” says Michelle Porter, co-founder and CEO of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission (SHRM) in Nova Scotia. “We knew immediately that our guests were going to need us more than ever. We couldn’t just close up our doors and wait this out.”

The SHRM cut back on volunteers, closed its thrift store and switched to serving meals “to go” at all three of its drop-in locations in Halifax, Bridgewater and Truro. The result was increased costs per meal, but the real surprise was an increase in the number of people who needed help.

“In Halifax alone, our numbers tripled. We went from serving 100 meals a day to 350. People who had never needed to use a soup kitchen before found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Seniors, families, immigrants, people with disabilities – they all found their way to our doors,” says Ms. Porter.

While food is important, the charity offers more than the meal itself.

“We look forward to the day when we can welcome back our volunteers. And there will be celebrations when we can reopen our dining rooms. People are lonely, and they need the comfort of dining together in a warm, inviting environment,” she says.

More information: or call 902-405-4663.

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with The Association of Fundraising Professionals Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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