Community dinners at Reception House are an opportunity for community members from all walks of life to welcome refugee families who are new to our region. Community dinner meal hosts are invited to share a home cooked (or store bought) meal with refugees who have just arrived to Canada. Community dinners take place at our temporary accommodation site on David St. across from Victoria Park where families live during their first 2-4 weeks upon arrival to Canada. Meal hosts are invited to bring games, activities, songs or just the meal. Staff help facilitate conversation across language barriers. We welcome potential meal hosts to register with our volunteer services coordinator, Cassandra at firstname.lastname@example.org. Community dinners are held once a month.
Considering a volunteer position at Reception House, but want some exposure to the families that we serve before you make a longer term commitment? This is a great place to start. Let us know what programs you are interested in, and our staff will come prepared to share information and answer questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do Community Dinners take place?
Once a month on a Thursday night of your choosing. Typically volunteers arrive at 6pm, dinner is served at 6:30pm, and clean-up is complete by 8:30pm. Other arrangements can be made by request.
Can my workplace or a corporate group prepare a meal?
Yes, you are more than welcome to bring a group of coworkers or friends. Our dining room seats 35, so as long as all of the guests living in the house who wish to attend can be accomodated, your group can be as large as 10 people.
What types of dietary restrictions should I consider?
We recommend always buying halal meat and avoiding pork. Halal is not any more expensive than regular meat and is available in your local grocery store. You can also choose to prepare a vegetarian meal.
Kishki World Foods on Highland Road, Ammar Halal Meats on Lancaster St West, and most M&M meat shops sell halal food.
We also recommend keeping all sauces, gravys and strong seasonings on the side so that guests can decide whether or not they want to add them. Plain dishes with optional add-ons are the best bet for the diversity of pallets.Having an ingredients list can be helpful to avoid allergies, or confusion around dietary restrictions.
Can I prepare the meal at Reception House?
It is preferable to come with a prepared meal. If additional prep is needed, you will have access to two ovens, a refrigerator and a freezer and basic kitchen supplies, but they may not meet your specific meal needs.
Can my family prepare a meal?
Yes. We welcome families – particularly those interested in becoming Family Partnership Program volunteers at Reception House. Our space is kid friendly and we have highchairs available for babies.
Is this an appropriate place for a youth group to volunteer?
Yes. We often have youth groups come in. The children living in the house really appreciate having other young people around to meet and play with. Bring your songs,activities, ice breakers and energy – and remember, many of our clients do not speak English yet, so non-verbal games are helpful. We do require that youth groups with youth under 18 be accompanied by a chaperone or youth group leader who is an adult.
Can I volunteer to cook meals every month?
The aim of Community Dinners is to give many different community members the chance to meet with and welcome newcomer families. For this reason we do not offer community dinners as an ongoing volunteer placement. We do however have many volunteer programs that do require an ongoing commitment. If you are interested in learning more, contact our Coordinator of Volunteer Services Cassandra at: email@example.com
When should I call Reception House to confirm how many people will be at the meal?
The Monday prior to the dinner OR 4 days in advance of the dinner. Reception House receives newcomers on a rotating basis. At any given time there may be between 2 and 35 people living in the house.