TIMMINS -- Before the COVID-19 pandemic, daily food programs for people in need in Timmins were operated by volunteers--most of them elderly.

With those options now on hold during the pandemic, officials with the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board realized the need for a new system to be put in place for the many who relied on those services.  

Opportunity knocked when two companies stepped up to donate, with $100,000 coming from Newmont Mining and $50,000 from Lakeshore Gold.

The Social Services Board did receive relief funding from the province, but Brian Marks says most of it is needed to house the city's homeless population.

"That pretty much eats up that social service relief fund, so the corporate donations are much needed to take care of the food security programs," said Marks. 

Six local restaurants are also making donations to ensure the city's hungry are fed.  

One of them is Northern Lights Fauxmagerie, a plant-based food restaurant.

"They feel much more full and satisfied and they don't need to eat as much because a lot of our foods are nutrient dense," says Rocsi Carr, co-owner of Northern Lights Fauxmagerie.

The restaurant's other co-owner, Danielle Moreau, says this arrangement is keeping them going.  

Their business is less than a year old and does not qualify for any of the government relief programs for owners.

"If it wasn't for this, we probably would have had to close so it's been amazing," said Moreau. 

Tonight they are serving mostly organic and gluten-free, meat-free spaghetti with 'meatballs' for about one-hundred people at The Lord's Kitchen.  

The other participating restaurants are:  Boston Pizza, East Side Mario's, McIntyre Catering, Montana's BBQ & Bar, and Pick of the Crop.

Anti-Hunger Coalition Timmins, a local food-security organization, will assist with coordinating the delivery of the meals. 

This is a developing story. More to come.