Hamilton Out of the Cold (HOOTC) was founded in 1997 by Sister Carole Anne Guay of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph to feed and shelter the homeless and the very poor in Hamilton. The program originated in Toronto, founded in 1987. It has since spread across Canada.
The program serves people who may spend their entire day trying to acquire enough food for themselves or even worse, for a family. They must visit foodbanks all over the city, find as many free meals as they can, and get to them by walking as they cannot afford bus fare.
What guests receive from HOOTC is a heartfelt welcome, respect, a warm safe space (before Covid), and a hot meal. The program runs from the first of November to the end of March. HOOTC is a low barrier program requiring no screening or means test for our guests – all are welcome. In the 2020-21 season, HOOTC served 22,678 meals. The Central Presbyterian Site, where I volunteer as the cook, served 3,607 meals to 1,664 guests.
The number of meals served has increased dramatically since then as now they are distributed outside in bags, rather than served in a warm hall. The bags usually contain a hot meal, bread, fruit and a snack
The program is always looking for volunteers who are willing to work at a variety of jobs and to commit, if possible, for the season. Of course, financial donations are also needed and most welcome.
Learn more about HOOTC at their website: hamiltonoutofthecold.ca or speak with Tom Fleming.
Office hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
We acknowledge with gratitude and respect that our parish is located on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. We are located in the Lower Chedoke Watershed.