September 1st, 2017
Seema David’s energy is palpable as soon as you enter the room. The co-founder and director of 5n2 Kitchens, Seema started the organization four years ago along with her husband Roopan.
This meal preparation and delivery program has quickly grown from one location to seven locations, operating five days a week. Along the way, this burgeoning organization has faced several challenges but the couple’s enthusiasm and passion for their mission has allowed them to overcome any barriers and thrive.
Initially supported solely by personal funds, 5n2 faced a critical funding gap towards the end of 2015 and were faced with the prospect of closing its doors. Through a chance encounter with a stranger, Seema became acquainted with Second Harvest’s services and was able to become a partner agency in early 2016, allowing them to continue funding their meal program.
5n2 works with a professional chef, Keith Matthias, a team of 20+ dedicated volunteers, summer students and a board of directors to provide more than 800 healthy meals weekly for marginalized individuals in the Kingston Galloway Orton Park area of Scarborough. After receiving a Second Harvest delivery every Tuesday with fresh produce, frozen meat and dairy, Chef Keith plans a menu for the week and begins work with the team on preparing the produce, while the rest of the team works on the organization’s website and media needs, applies for funding grants and organizes logistics of their meal service.
Five days a week, Seema and a few hard-working volunteers load up several vehicles with carefully packaged, piping-hot soups and meals, delivering them to locations throughout Scarborough, including a Toronto Community Housing buildings, the Salvation Army, the Byng Towers Assisted Living and several others. Their clients include seniors, families living in subsidized housing, adults with disabilities and many more who either live in the buildings or gather for food bank services.
The team is grateful for the use of a free kitchen facility housed in their church, Global Kingdom Ministries, to prepare fresh, homemade meals which are then delivered and served to marginalized individuals, for whom many is the only hot, filling meal of the day. One unique feature that sets 5n2 apart is the quality of the cooking – as an experienced, trained chef, Keith’s meals are gourmet, mouth-watering dishes that stands out from other meal programs. The staff and volunteers at 5n2 regularly hear from their clients that their food is the reason they leave their homes or attend a particular program.
5n2 is now facing its next big challenge: finding a new space to house their expanding operations to address the growing need they witness daily. They hope to find a sponsor who can fund a facility to house their operations so they can provide subsidized meals to their clients on site as well as assist with the costs of new kitchen equipment. In addition, 5n2 has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the leasing of a new facility as well as a nutrition education program for their clients, all through the support of their incredible skilled and resourceful volunteers. There is no doubt that this small but mighty charity will continue to prosper, all thanks to the energy and dedication of the Davids, Chef Keith and their incredible team.