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Linda Lafantaisie and Sylvain Piquette are preparing to dish it up at the newly approved La Cuisine communautaire de Nipissing Ouest / West Nipissing Community Kitchen. Starting in September, community volunteers will be serving healthy lunches to the hungry twice a week.

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Soup kitchen set to open this September


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by Isabel Mosseler

What began as a dream a couple of years ago to help end hunger in West Nipissing, is now set to become reality with the opening of a community soup kitchen.

At the June 5th meeting of WN municipal Council, the town approved the Horizon Women’s Centre’s bid to open the West Nipissing Community Kitchen / Cuisine communautaire de Nipissing Ouest. Executive director Linda Lafantaisie presented her case council, asking for the free use of the kitchen at the Sturgeon Falls Recreation Complex for two days a week, tentatively Tuesdays and Thursdays, in order to provide a healthy lunch to citizens of West Nipissing who are experiencing hunger.

While Lafantaisie couldn’t provide exact figures on how many people are affected by hunger, everyone on council agreed there was a need for such a service in West Nipissing. The support was unanimous, so starting in September the kitchen is a go.

The initiative is not a brand new idea, but the result of over 2 years of planning and organizing by concerned citizens, spearheaded by local resident Sylvain Piquette. “It was Sylvain Piquette and a few other members of the community who wanted to start this. Someone approached me and I joined the group. They wanted to apply for charity status, which is hard to get,” Lafantaisie explains.

The red tape bogged down the organizers, so Lafantaisie approached the board of Horizon, and they decided to adopt the project under their umbrella for the first two years. This eliminated the need to apply for separate status, making it possible to finally open the kitchen doors. “If it goes well, the board will decide whether to continue supporting,” she says of the two-year trial.

Lafantaisie adds the Community Kitchen will be strictly run on donations and volunteers, a real community project, and Horizon will take the fiscal responsibility for maintaining the books as they are audited on an annual basis anyway.

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