Newcomer Kitchen – Day 1

Wednesday was an exciting and important day for The Dep, the realization of a project that an amazing group of volunteers have been working on for many weeks. The idea was simple: there were many Syrian refugee families stuck in hotels awaiting relocation, often for weeks on end, with no access to kitchens. Could we make The Dep available to them so they could cook food for their themselves and their families, in a fun, social setting?

It was more challenging than expected to find a way to connect with the community of families in the hotels, navigating bureaucratic and language barriers, but thanks to the hard work of some amazing people including Rahaf & Esmaeel Al Akabani and Yasmine Nasef from The Welcome Project, Mahmoud Allouch and Roula Ajib from the Arab Community Centre, and the incredible support of Caroline Keenan, Andrea Diaz Varela, Cara Benjamin-Pace, Michelle Krasny (who also took these great photos) and Basil AlZeri, it all came together.

The day was a big success, with nearly a dozen mothers, young and old, coming together to cook and hang out and share a meal. The goal is to try and make this a regular event at The Dep, and once they get comfortable in the space, to invite them to make extra food that can be made available for sale for pick-up or delivery, providing them a revenue stream and entrepreneurial opportunity. There are still lots of logistical issues to figure out, from transportation to scheduling to child care to translation, but if today’s success is any indication, this amazing group will figure it all out.

As we figure out new ways to help this project along, we may be reaching out to our community for support. To stay up to date on the project as it evolves, check in on

7 replies
  1. Lisa Kates
    Lisa Kates says:

    I think this is one of the most welcoming things Toronto has done for Syruan families. I am offering my help when you need it.

  2. Mae Hourani
    Mae Hourani says:

    Congratulations on launching this amazing project. Pls let me know how can I help. Wishing you all the best.

  3. lensenater
    lensenater says:

    The outpouring of support for this project has been incredible and overwhelming!

    Our team is working hard to be able to do this again ASAP, and to keep everyone in the loop.

    To start we have set up some basic online resources for those who want to stay up-to-date on this project, or who may want to support it further once we figure out our next steps.

    There is now a Facebook Group you can join:

    A mailing list where you can add your email:

    or you can follow it on Twitter or Instagram @newcomerkitchen

    Direct inquires can be sent to

Comments are closed.