‘Heartfelt’ fundraiser in downtown Kitchener combats hunger

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People gathered in downtown Kitchener Sunday as the second annual Hunger No More fundraiser brought the community together to support Tiny Home Takeout’s big mission.

The local program combats food insecurity and operates out of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Kitchener. Offering up pizzas for the hungry five-days a week, Tiny Home Takeout cooks up to 700 meals a day.

“Our motto is grab a bite to eat, give if you can,” said Tiny Home Takeout committee member Kal Kotecha. “Our philosophy is our food is good for every person in the community, regardless of income.”

Kotecha has been volunteering with the program since its inception in early 2021.

“I believe the need has been growing steadily every year. Especially right now with economic downturns, we’re going to need a lot more generosity from our community,” Kotecha said.

Volunteer and Tiny Home Takeout committee member Kal Kotecha lifts pizzas into the oven at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Kitchener. (CTV Kitchener)

To keep the pizza ovens baking, the non-profit relies entirely on public donations, making the second annual Hunger No More fundraiser a crucial event.

“This is our major fundraiser of the year,” explained Kotecha.

Sunday’s event featured food, music and a silent auction offering over $35,000 in items.

“We have a whole bunch of food trucks, a lot of them offering a free bite to anyone who wants it, and then their menu is also for sale,” explained Tiny Home Takeout kitchen coordinator Amy Cyr.

“We have a magician, we have a balloon animal artist, we have a face painter, we have cotton candy, popcorn – you name it. And then of course, behind me, we’ve got the live band.”

Last year’s event raised $70,000 for Tiny Home Takeout, covering two months’ worth of operating costs.

Organizers hope to break six-figures this year.

“It’s really heartfelt that people are not going to go hungry because of this,” Kotecha said.

Tiny Home Takeout is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Kotecha hopes to start new fundraising initiatives in the future to bring more supports to the program.

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