JCA’s Community Meal Initiative serving a growing number of shut-ins

No curry goat. No oxtail, either.

They’re  not in the budget.

Adaoma Patterson

But for seniors in the Greater Toronto Area who need a healthy, well prepared hot meal, the Jamaican Canadian Association  (JCA)  has launched its community initiative.

It started shortly after  the major shut-down came into effect in Ontario last month with the declaration of a State of Emergency.

Adaoma Patterson, president of  the JCA,  told The Caribbean Camera that the Community Meal Initiative, started ” with an idea from  two JCA members – Elaine Thompson and Danae Peart.

” They  expressed their concern  that things are going to get tough for many people since the government has shut down almost everything. They said they would be willing to do something with the JCA to  help people in need  and there are some chefs who will be willing to cook.” 

” So we formed a little team and after advertising our Initiative in a flyer and receiving requests, we did our first meal on March 20 last and for that weekend (March 20-22) we basically cooked and packaged everything up and set up station in the lobby of the Jamaican Canadian Centre,” Patterson said.

“Later, more people came on board to assist in the Initiative and drivers  volunteered to deliver the meals to the homes of the shut-ins.”

Patterson said the Community Meal Initiative receives” non official funding” but has been getting “unsolicited donations.

” It’s really a labour of love but it has garnered some attention and some additional resources.”

Sylvanus Thompson

Sylvanus Thompson,  Associate Director with Toronto Public Health and a volunteer with the Initiative,  said he has “customized” a protocol for food handlers to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus and food-borne illnesses.

“You don’t want  COVID-19  spreading  from one person to the other. So we make sure that all the physical distancing and all the recommendations from the minister of health are observed by the volunteers.”

He also noted that ” the food is also kept covered within the required temperature zone at all times and, of course, we use disposable containers.”

The JCA president reports that  the Initiative “has caught on” and “our professional chefs and volunteers are kept busy serving a growing number of people in our community.”