Food for Thought: what started as an internet café now provides 1,000 meals a day

Food insecure people housed in hotels and motels have extra need for prepared meals

August 10, 2021

(Ottawa) Food for Thought, an internet café that helped food insecure individuals in the Caldwell community, quickly pivoted their operations to widely support food insecure families and individuals across the city with pre-made meals during the pandemic.

A year and half after having to close the net-café due to the COVID-19, Food for Thought is now in a new location and delivering nearly 1,000 meals a day thanks to donors, their own cooking staff, volunteers, and a host of participating Ottawa restaurants.

The group of donors, including CLV Group & the McGahan Family, Broccolini, Jeffrey and Joanna York Family Foundation, and the Zed family, came together and donated to the Ottawa Food Bank to support local restaurants affected by the pandemic but also to provide delicious meals to those housed in emergency shelters at hotels and motels across the city. The donors’ support has covered the costs for the restaurants to provide the meals, with many restaurants now saying they would like to carry on their participation and donate their time, energy, and resources beyond the pandemic.

“One thing in particular that was really important to our donors was to provide these restaurant quality meals to people lodged in hotel and motels with no kitchens. This was the initial goal of our funders,” says Sylvain de Margerie, President and Founder of Food for Thought.

While hotels and motels may have been where it all began, this initiative also supports elderly and disabled individuals in respite centres, as well as food programs across the city including Rideau Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre, The Well, Lowertown Community Centre, Meals on Wheels and more.

“We, and our clients, owe a lot to the Ottawa Food Bank, and those who donated to support this program,” says Margerie. “Food for Thought cooks good but simple meals everyday and the wonderful restaurant meals we are able to collect and provide are a special treat for our clients. The support also give our crew a break, which was especially important while we turn our new location into our home.”

In addition to restaurant meals, the staff and volunteers at Food for Thought have prepared over 250,000 meals from 100 tons of food over the last year, all of it provided for free to people in need.    These meals are delivered twice a day, five days a week to over  4,500 people since the program began.

Current participating restaurants include: Al’s Stakehouse, Bibi’s, Joe’s Italian Kitchen, Mamma Tereasa’s, Olga’s Deli, Revival Pizza/Mad Radish, The Works, Thyme & Again, and Wolf Down.


About Food for Thought:

Food for Thought, as it is now, was created in 2020 as a direct solution to food insecurity. We cook a large supply of hot, tasty meals in our own professional kitchen, and work with restaurants who donate delicious pre-made meals. This food is donated to people who have trouble accessing food or the means to cook for themselves. For more information, visit

About the Ottawa Food Bank:

The Ottawa Food Bank is the main emergency food provider in the National Capital Region, which works in partnership with a network of 112 community food programs to provide food and kindness for tens of thousands of people each month – 36 per cent of whom are children. With a focus on fresh, and thanks to the community’s support, on average 12 to 14 tons of food is distributed from their Michael Street warehouse every weekday. For more information regarding the Ottawa Food Bank and how you can help provide healthy, accessible, sustainable food for all, please visit

For more information or to set up an interview please contact:
Samantha Ingram
Communications Manager, Ottawa Food Bank


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