by Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Many North Dundas and North Grenville residents are familiar with the work of the local not-for-profit organization, House of Lazarus. The South Mountain based charity runs food banks, thrift stores, and countless community outreach programs, with a focus on helping those in need and bringing the community together.
One program that speaks to the organization’s generosity is its “Take Out on the House” program. This program offers free take-out dinners every Wednesday to anyone who wants them. A different prepared meal is offered each week, with options such as pastas and casserole dishes, complete with extras such as buns, salads, and dessert. Given the rising cost of food, and the fact that many people struggle to feed their families, the Times reached out to the House of Lazarus for clarification on what drives this initiative.
A spokesperson told the Times that the initiative began as a free sit down meal event, geared toward providing outreach and conversation, particularly for those who live alone and are therefore accustomed to eating alone. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, such in-person gatherings were prohibited under pandemic rules. Several months later, the take-out meals started as a way to continue the outreach in a different way, and they have continued ever since. The plan is to return to a “sit down meal” model in the near future, though a definitive date has not yet been set.
The “Take Out on the House” meals are not just for people with financial need – anyone is welcome to order a free meal. Some people choose to make a donation to the House of Lazarus for their meal, but there is no obligation to do so, and in fact, those who order the meals can rest assured that the subject of donations will not be brought up at any point, unless they bring it up themselves. An estimated average of about 70 people use the service weekly.
It is important to note that those wishing to order a meal must do so by 4pm on the Monday before the Wednesday meal they wish to order. Pick ups are done by appointment, beginning at 3:30pm on each Wednesday in 10-minute time slots. The House of Lazarus is encouraging anyone who wants to skip the cooking on Wednesdays to participate in this outreach initiative. Orders can be placed by calling the House of Lazarus at 613-989-3830. Pick up of the meals is at 10619 Main Street in South Mountain (the current House of Lazarus food bank at the old Scotiabank location).