It was cold outside, but the seniors inside TAIBU Community Health Care Centre on March 2 were treated to a tasty warm meal and dessert to launch a weekly lunchtime initiative involving 42 Division.
About 150 Malvern residents were served barbecue chicken with cajun rice and vegetables to kick-start the Malvern Eats program, conceived by the Muslim Welfare Centre (MWC) whose head office is in the Malvern community.
Staff Sergeant Andy Ecklund, in charge of the Division’s Community Response Unit, said the MWC reached out to them to participate in the program.
“They run a similar program in 51 Division and they wanted to do something in this neighbourhood,” he said. “We were only too happy to be associated with this initiative as it helps us to increase our outreach in this this community where we already have two Neighbourhood Officers who work in Malvern and School Resource Officers in two schools.”
Superintendent Kim Yeandle, 42 Division unit commander, joined Ecklund and other officers in serving meals to the seniors.
“This is about bringing people together and enhancing partnerships,” she said. “It’s an amazing initiative.”
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, the MWC launched Regent Meals at the Christian Resource Centre in Regent Park. In the last 16 months, almost 200,000 meals have been served every Sunday between 11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“What we are doing here is replicating that program, but on a smaller scale,” said Firaaz Azeez, the MWC special projects manager. “We will serve about 150 people in Malvern, in contrast to about 350 that we serve in Regent Park. This program is about providing healthy delicious halal food, for people of all walks of life, in an environment of warmth and compassion. It really gives them a sense of hope.”
Seniors in Malvern are served on Thursdays between 11.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. at TAIBU Health Care Community Centre, 27 Tapscott Rd.
TAIBU, launched in 2008, and 1 Love Malvern are the other partners in the “Malvern Eats” initiative.