Jean-Francois Archambault Feeding the homeless (food program).
Everybody at the Welcome Hall Mission looks forward to hockey nights — especially Montreal Canadiens home games.
Like most Montrealers, a lot of the people here are diehard fans. But for those who come to this mission in a converted factory in the southwest district of St-Henri for help, there’s an added treat: a gourmet meal the next afternoon.
Thanks to a partnership with the Bell Centre, home to the Canadiens, all the uneaten food served in the arena’s 124 private and corporate boxes is packaged, refrigerated and brought to the Welcome Hall Mission where it is served for lunch over the next day or two.
“Sometimes it’s pasta filled with duck, or ribs, or beef brochettes. There are cheese plates and cold-cut platters — delicious high-end food that in the past would have gone straight to the garbage,” said Kathryn Stephens, the mission’s director of development and community engagement. “Now the 200-plus homeless men who eat in our cafeteria get to enjoy it, too.
“It’s no wonder we are always cheering for the Canadiens to make it into the playoffs!”
La Tablée des Chefs (which roughly translates as Chefs’ Table) is the organization that makes it happen. The non-profit group is in the process of revolutionizing the redistribution of food waste from the hotel and restaurant industry. It is turning the commercial kitchen into a place for social change and the chefs, cooks and candy makers who work there into the agents.