The Tiny Home Takeout stall at St. Mary’s parish on Duke St. in Kitchener. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

Tiny Home Takeout At DTK Church

At the steps of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on Duke St. in Kitchener, a tiny home stands tall, humble in size but strong in structure and most of all, character. 

Tiny Home Takeout is a recent project that the downtown church has undertaken in response to the demand for delicious and warm food in the community. It is estimated that 10 per cent of households in Waterloo Region struggle to put food on the table.

The Tiny Home Takeout project was created to offer community members a hot meal, with a “take what you need, and leave what you can” approach. The team is operating with a skeleton crew of about 20 volunteers, one is currently a culinary student and another is a culinary teacher. 

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church has just undergone a renovation where a commercial kitchen was installed in the basement. Initially, the space was going to be used to feed those who are hungry in our community. When the renovation was completed in January, the church saw a different opportunity. 

“We saw an opportunity to do takeout not just for those who are in need, but for everyone because everyone loves good takeout food”, Father Toby Collins, who was behind the initiative, said. 

Collins described the community’s response to the recent project as “spectacular.” 

On average, the team makes 120 soups or chillis and about 130 pizzas a day. If demand continues, which it is expected to, the church is hoping to grow the team of volunteers to 100 individuals. 

“People have taken to it. They love the concept, and they’re showing up and giving generously,” Collins said. 

“On the flip side, people who haven’t eaten all day are beyond words to express their gratitude for food that they love.” 

Tiny Home Takeout is built off a project taken on by the church in the summer. 

Back in 2020, students at the church were building Tiny Homes for folks experiencing homelessness. 

Students added insulation and interior panelling, painted each home and constructed bed frames and shelves inside them. Solar panels were also installed so electricity could be generated.

Each home was inspected and certified as a mobile home.

“The tiny home gives people a certain sense of autonomy,” Collins said. 

“It was the ultimate relationship builder between the students and people who are homeless or precariously housed.” 

The Tiny Home Takeout project is an extension of this initiative. 

“We are seeing an increase for people to do good in the community,” Collins said. 

While there is an increase in demand for good deeds in our community, there is also an increased demand for food.

“The increase in demand is inevitable coming out of a pandemic because of job loss and homelessness,” Collins said. 

“As long as our staff can keep up with [it], I think we’re going to be okay. We can keep up with that demand.” 

Collins explained that it is St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church’s plan to continue the Tiny Home Takeout Project indefinitely. 

“It’s a beautiful thing,” he beamed.

“Grab a bite and give if you can.”