- Aisha Goyette
Newcomer Kitchen Party
Veith House's community kitchen will be ground zero for a new catering company with a cause: The Newcomer Kitchen Party. And with two of its four events happening before the official April 11 launch date, it seems like this party could not wait to get started.
Veith House is a "community hub, a lot of our services are social work related," says social worker Alex MacKinnon. "Since Saida came here, we have a bunch of pretty bumpin' newcomers programs, which is great."
Saida Gazie started as the newcomer program coordinator back in July of 2018. She is in charge of managing all programs and events designed to help those who are new to Canada, with accessible language classes, first aid training, community events, group outings and markets.
Another program offered at Veith House, recently added, is the Newcomer Kitchen Party. With a playful east coast twist, it was inspired by a similar but recently shut down Newcomer Kitchen program based out of Toronto, with the same goal of creating work opportunities for recent immigrants and refugees.
"It's basically like catering," says MacKinnon. "We are starting small because we have a small kitchen here."
It works like this: A local business will make an order to Veith House. The participants of the program will work together in the community kitchen to purchase the ingredients, plan the meal and fill the order. Then, after covering the cost of ingredients, they divide the proceeds among themselves.
Veith House acts as the coordinator between those making the orders and the participants in the program, and offers their community kitchen free of charge.
"Veith House doesn't take any money," says Gazie. "All the money goes to the women, to help them."
Gazie explains that this program is open to all newcomers to Canada: "It is open to women and men, we have two men already in our program." Currently there are 12 participants.
The Newcomer Kitchen is still accepting applicants. The only requirement is to send in your name, along with a list of foods you can cook. According to Gazie, there is an impressive level of culinary talent to choose from.
It's not a full-time job, but a way to make a little money. As Gazie says, job hunting as a newcomer to Canada can be difficult and this program provides an opportunity to make some much needed income.
With summer around the corner, the Newcomer Kitchen Party is expecting orders to pick up, but plan to keep it small until all the kinks get worked out. The group is still looking for delivery drivers.
Getting a new catering company started has more start up costs than Veith House expected, but they aren't letting it put a damper on their plans for the future.
"It is a new project for us," says Gazie, "but it is going well."