The lounge at the Bronson Rooming House has a stocked kitchen, thanks in part to the dedication of one tenant volunteer.
Nick, who has lived in the building for seven years, has been working on getting equipment so that he can feed his neighbours and get them out of their homes.
He organizes a weekly breakfast for the residents every Thursday. The weekly meal is well attended. Nearly 25 residents turn up most weeks – that is nearly half of the building’s occupants, given that the rooming house has 51 homes.
“Sometimes just coming down is good because tenants socialize with each other,” he said, adding other tenant volunteers help out and do dishes and clean tables once the meal is over.
Nick is well known to the Community and Tenant Support team. He has been submitting Community Capital Fund applications for several years to buy the gear he needs to cook.
He is always willing to lend a hand, and has worked with the Volunteer Engagement Program, participated in a Tenant Talks session in November and he has worked with another tenant volunteer at Hasenback Place.
“My motto is, ‘Have tools will travel,’” he jokes.
His next project is converting a room off the lounge into storage space for a freezer and shelves to free up some space in the kitchen. He also wants to work with the Volunteer Engagement Program to get planter boxes and a seating area installed for the side yard.
Nick receives some funding from Options Bytown and the Somerset West Community Health Centre to pay for the food each week. But sometimes he pays for food out of his own pocket.
His breakfast is standard fare – eggs and bacon mostly – but he has vegetarian options and other food for members of his community that don’t eat pork.
Aside from the weekly meal he prepares, Nick also cooks holiday meals and runs a pop fundraiser – selling pop he buys at the store to reinvest in things for the building that will benefit his fellow tenants. He also donates used books to the lounge library.
Note: Due to COVID-19 all tenant lounges are closed until further notice