Working together to feed the hungry in our community

Peter Simpson

Among the many partnerships and collaborations that have formed during the COVID-19 shutdown, the Centretown Emergency Food Centre (CEFC) and Flora Hall Brewing — each with roots in Old Ottawa East (OOE) — have begun a new relationship that is already benefitting those in need within the OOE community.

The food centre feeds people in the Main Street – Lees Avenue area and has volunteers who live in the neighbourhood — as do Flora Hall Brewing’s owner, Dave Longbottom and head brewer, Rod Hughes.

Longbottom recently presented Allison Dingle, chair of the CEFC’s management committee, with $2,500, which was an advance on Flora Hall’s pledge to donate five per cent of food sales during the shutdown to the food centre.

Dingle says the CEFC has had to “completely revise our services” due to public health protocols – face-to-face contact has been put on hold, and hours had to be reduced to noon to 1 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays. Demand remains, however, and the Centre still provides food to approximately 250 people per week.

COVID-19 has likewise forced tremendous changes to how Flora Hall operates. The popular bar and taproom are closed, while the beer shop and kitchen remain open for takeout and delivery. The interior of the brewery has been reconfigured to protect customers and staff, hours have been reduced to 1 to 9 p.m. daily, and many changes to production schedules and procedures have been implemented for Hughes and his brew crew.

“We are proud residents of Old Ottawa East,” Longbottom says, “and we can see and feel the collective responsibility and spirit of this great neighbourhood as we move together to get beyond this crisis.”

The non-denominational food centre is in the basement of Centretown United Church, at 507 Bank Street. Flora Hall Brewing is around the corner at 37 Flora Street. The brewery has introduced a new online shop at: florahallbrewing.ca.

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