In From The Cold

IN FROM THE COLD – 2020/21 

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted  purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely.

This is to inform you that because of the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic spreading, to our disappointment and certainly to the disappointment of our guests, we must shut down our In From The Cold “Take-out” meal programme from this Saturday, January 16, 2021 until it is safe to start-up again.


When it is permitted, we hope to resume on Saturdays, from 3:30 – 5:00 PM, with our  Take-Out program as described below:

Because of the current Covid-19 restrictions and concerns, Parkdale United Church will offer a “Take-Out” meal instead of our usual sit-down In From The Cold extended program. The packaged meal will be handed out from 3:30 – 5:00 pm on a first come basis. Please use the door on Gladstone Ave.

We do not take lightly our blessings during these troubled times to have our two Chefs and our donors all return. We have about 20 volunteers working behind the scene to provide a meal to our guests who are so much in need. We thank our many other volunteers who have offered to give of their time; however, we are trying to keep our numbers down to the bare minimum to ensure we adhere to the COVID-19 protocols. Presently, we are working with about 20 instead of our usual 80 volunteers. We ask everyone to pray for our ministry as we fine-tune this new approach and, if you are able, we do welcome your donations to In From The Cold. We will keep you informed as this process unfolds. Thank you everyone.

For more information about our 2020-21 Take-Out program including how to participate, please drop us a line at:

The following paragraphs describe our program as it took  place in previous years.  We hope to return to this format next fall for the 2021-2022 season.


The purpose of our In From the Cold (IFTC) supper hospitality ministry, is to provide, in the way of Jesus, an opportunity for people of Parkdale United Church, volunteers from the wider community, and guests experiencing poverty or other challenges, to come together in relationship while exploring the mystery and privilege of giving and receiving in the context of safety, loving hospitality, respect and dignity.

Over the years, this relationship has been supported by the preparation and provision of good quality food, warm greeting and conversation where deep personal stories are shared.  Opportunities to create art, to read a variety of literature and take books home, to listen to music and sing, and to have joys and concerns prayed over, are offered each week, on Saturday between 2 and 5 PM. 

We believe that this ministry is an important way of loving God and loving our neighbours. 


Each week more than 90 volunteers come to work various shifts starting at 10:45 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m.  The kitchen volunteers, under the direction of our volunteer cooks, prepare delicious meals “from scratch”.  Meals are made with taste and health in mind, starting with a fresh salad plate and homemade soup.  Generous main courses include fish or meat with potatoes or rice and vegetables.  Delicious entrees are provided for vegetarians.  A variety of desserts complete the meal.  Bagels, muffins and beverages are available before and during the meal.  Fruit, sandwiches and individually packaged left over meals (if available) are offered as the guests leave.

The number of meals served is steadily growing.  November 2002 started with only 35 guests.  Now between 120 – 150 guests is the norm.

Community Support

There has been growing interest from other churches and community groups since 2016 – 2017, individuals and groups volunteers from:

  • Phi Sigma Sigma
  • Saint George’s Catholic Church
  • Marc Mackenzie and Family
  • Karen and Trevor Smithers and Friends
  • Hillary McVey and Friends
  • 28th Field Ambulance Medic Team
  • Barrhaven United Church
  • Parkdale Youth Group
  • Saint George’s Catholic Church
  • Denese Love & Group
  • Carleton University 
  • Temple Israel Youth Group
  • Trinity United Kazabazua 
  • Youth
  • Group and Adults
  • Vernon United Church
  • Woodroffe United Church
  • Algonquin Colege
  • Kiwanis Club Ottawa West
  • Kitchissippi United Church
  • Philanthrophy Sorority

Generous Donors

We are extremely grateful to local merchants and business people who have generously donated food and other supplies:

  • Art-Is-Bakery
  • Bridgehead Coffeehouses
  • GTxpress
  • Herb and Spice
  • Morris Home Hardware
  • Ottawa Bagel Shop and Deli
  • Saslove’s Meat Market
  • The Table Vegetarian Restaurant
  • Trillium Bakery
  • The Ottawa Citizen
  • The Ottawa Sun

Come Join The Team

Together, as a caring team, we look forward to offering welcoming fellowship, hot nutritious meals, interesting crafts, games and a wide variety of books, magazines and newspapers to our guests for another season, from the second Saturday in November to the end of March.  If you would like to assist in this exciting service, as a NEW volunteer, please call the church office, pick up a Volunteer Sign Up Sheet at any of the four doors of the Sanctuary or print the one on the web site (Click here to download:   IFTC form PDF or IFTC form WORD and return it on the collection plate, or to the Church office or email

Opportunities to Serve

The following is a brief description of the various tasks that are required for a successful IFTC evening. A more detailed description is available in the Church Office.


Pick up groceries every Friday

Set up 

  • Set up tables and chairs
  • Set the tables
  • Put signs up
  • Let volunteers in

Kitchen Work 

  • Assist chef with food preparation
  • Assemble meals
  • Kitchen clean-up


Prepare bagels and sandwiches                                      Socialize with guests

Serving & Clean-up

  • Serve meals
  • Clear tables & scrape plates
  • Put away tables, chairs, supplies
  • Clean facility
  • Clean-up Anchor – assist with & oversee clean-up

Beverage Table

The Beverage table opens at 2:00pm to serve guests as they socialize, read books and magazines, etc. from the Literacy table, work at the Crafts table and enjoy the community musicians volunteering their time.


Registration table: Greet and register guests              Volunteer table: Greet and register volunteers; Distribute take-out food to guests


Door Watch:  Ensure unauthorized personnel do not enter restricted areas

Shift Coordinators

  • Oversee all of the above
  • Orient volunteers
  • Socialize with guests

Literacy Table

The Literacy Table has acquired an excellent assortment of reading material over the summer but we are always grateful to add to our stock. If you have books in good condition (particularly biographies, coffee table books, history, crafts) and “newer” magazines dated April 2015 onwards, please leave them in the green box outside the Chapel or give them to a Literacy Table Volunteer any Saturday between November and March 31.

In addition, donations of 2016 calendars and Christmas cards are also appreciated by guests. Thank you for your continuing support.

Testimonies From Our Guests

The last Saturday of the eleventh year of our In From The Cold Ministry was held on March 23, 2013. A record number of grateful guests (196) expressed their gratitude both verbally and in written cards and notes. A few of their comments are recorded below.

“Thank you for a series of joyful Saturdays.”

“The only thing I wish (having enjoyed these get togethers)  is that there was a programme to hook up us able bodied people together with a person who has physical disability so we could help them get here to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere!”

“Thank you to everyone who had worked over the span of 6 months to prepare all the delicious meals which all of us ate & enjoyed. God bless everyone.”

“God sent an angel to earth when he sent you. Thank you for everything. God Bless.”

“Your food is good”

“Thanks so much for your caring heart & compassion! God Bless you Richly!”

“May God continue to bless you and send his angels to watch over you.”

“This has become a wonderful community for me this year. I will miss it in the summer.”

“It is very much appreciated all you do.”

“Thanks for all the many blessings. You are all appreciated.”

“Thank God for all you volunteers. You feed the unfortunate and share your time with us. You serve us as if Jesus and God himself would. God bless you all for you do God’s work. With all of our love.”

“Bless you for being here.”

“Thank you for your kindness and your great food…”

“Thank you so much for your generosity.”

The Messenger

Monthly Email Newsletter


429 Parkdale Ave
Ottawa, ON K1Y 1H3
Phone: (613) 728-8656