North Bay restaurant being turned into outreach hub
NORTH BAY -- A North Bay restaurant with the goal of feeding the homeless population is changing its business model.
As a result, HOPE’s Kitchen will serve as an outreach centre to address the needs of the city's homeless population.
"We noticed there was more of an outreach for clothing and for some there's to stay warm you know come in and a have a cup of coffee," said HOPE’s Kitchen Co-owner Chris Brown. "They're very grateful and we didn't know how big the need was until we actually did this."
Brown said that he and co-owner Katie Valiquette made the difficult choice to stop operating as a restaurant but instead use the space as an outreach centre, which includes providing clothing, toiletries and the use of its washroom.
"Now they can get a warm article of clothing and any necessity they need, hygiene products, we have everything," said Volunteer Outreach Coordinator Brenda Chartrand.
HOPE's Kitchen will still offer food to those in need based on the donations that it receives, with the demand being more important as the weather gets colder.
"We're hoping we can get enough volunteers so we can leave it open for 24 hours so they have somewhere to stay warm," said Brown.
The owners say that besides there being a homeless and poverty problem in the city, there is also growing concerns surrounding the amount of opioids in the city too and they hope to address it through their outreach hub.
"It's bad and everybody needs to be out there to help these people," said Chartrand. "We're in a warm place, but they're not."
HOPE's Kitchen will be funded by Brown and Valiquette, but they say any kind of clothing donations are welcome.