Community Cuisine To Go

ECF enables John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights to provide 900 meals per week to vulnerable Edmontonians

Edmonton’s most vulnerable populations are receiving nutritious meals thanks to Pedro Munhoz and his emergency relief kitchen project, Community Cuisine. Munhoz partnered with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights (JHC) to coordinate relief efforts and received funding from Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) to supply the kitchen.

 The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly complicated the goal of safely providing some of Edmonton’s at-risk communities with quality food.

 “A lot of the people who normally would be feeding these vulnerable populations have not been able to do so because of how their facilities are set up,” explains Munhoz. “If it’s cafeteria-style, you can’t do that for COVID.”

 As a response, Munhoz and his business partner Danny Reinich launched Community Cuisine to provide nutritious meals in a safe way. Each meal is prepared, packaged, and delivered in accordance with the best pandemic practices.

 Munhoz began by funding the project himself, but was surprised at the expenses when organizing food delivery.

 “One of the things I learned right out of the gate was how expensive to-go containers can be,” he says. “And there’s no way you can re-use those kinds of containers during a pandemic, especially when you’re feeding seniors.”

 A grant from Edmonton Community Foundation helped Munhoz secure supplies, including to-go containers, to keep Community Cuisine running. Thanks to that funding, the relief kitchen is supplying individuals and charitable organizations with more than 900 meals a week.

 “The pandemic has shown just how vulnerable Edmontonians’ food security can be,” said Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement. “It’s inspiring to see people like Pedro and Danny stepping up to help their community and ECF is happy to support the great work they are doing.”

 ECF seeded the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF) on March 25 with $500,000 of its discretionary dollars. Since then, the RRF has exceeded a million dollars to allocate to Edmonton’s charitable organizations, thanks to contributions from donors and the wider community. To date, ECF has provided a combined total of $1,072,150 from various granting streams to support Edmonton’s charitable sector through the pandemic.

 “Honestly, without the funding from ECF, Community Cuisine wouldn’t be running right now,” says Munhoz.

When it comes to food for vulnerable populations, Community Cuisine delivers the highest quality meals it can. And, as Munhoz has learned, the community really appreciates it.

“The Hope Mission sends out these little surveys, asking, ‘How did you find the meal?’ And they’re supposed to rank it from one to 10. There was one guy who gave us 1 million, he just wrote 1 million and we felt so good,” says Munhoz.

For Munhoz and Reinich, Community Cuisine will continue to grow and serve Edmontonians. They hope to expand into a second kitchen soon and continue to serve meals scored 1 million out of 10.

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.