On Rock Community Services and food bank has opened a “pay-it-forward” cafe called Le Spot in Pierrefonds to help better serve the community.
The organization was forced to tear down its part-time diner to create more space for its food bank warehouse during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a 35 per cent increase in demand.
Having relocated to the Pierrefonds Plaza, president of On Rock, Kim Reid, is planning on eventually having the cafe run full-time, after volunteer Geoff Wright told him the neighbourhood was lacking a nice place to grab a cup of coffee.
Operating under the same umbrella as the food bank, there are no set prices and clients are welcome to “pay what you can” or “spot it forward.”
For Reid, giving back to the community is at the heart of Le Spot.
“A mom may come in here with her kid, and she may be able to afford lunch for him, but she’s not going to eat anything … well, you know what? We can make that happen,” he said.
They’re serving up both breakfast and lunch, and a local baker has volunteered to bake them scones.
With the help of other community organizations, Reid also plans on offering cooking lessons to low-income families and those with special needs.
He wants everyone to feel welcomed at Le Spot and for diners not to be ashamed of needing help.
“We’ve worked really hard at being community-centered, and making sure that our focus is there, bringing dignity back to the low-income people in our area,” he said.
Thriftit, a thrift shop next door to the cafe, is run by Reid’s daughter and also falls under the On Rock organization.
He stressed the importance of having both locations look like boutiques.
“We wanted to create an atmosphere where people walked in and felt good about being there,” he said.
Le Spot is only open part-time for now, but Reid hopes to be able to have it running full-time in the future.
The cafe’s grand opening charity event to raise funds and awareness of the new services being offered had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.