Shepherds of Good Hope needs to retire Rusty Ruby and raise funds for a refrigerated truck

Published in the Lowertown Echo
September 2019

By: Caroline Cox, Senior Manager, Communications and Community & Volunteer Services

On average in a year we have 92 people for breakfast, 212 for lunch, 130 for dinner and over 200 for our community drop-in meal service, but this past Saturday we had 150 people for breakfast, 270 for lunch, 170 for dinner and over 200 for our community drop-in services – almost 800 meals served out of our downtown shelter’s soup kitchen. We also provide three meals a day to our 225 residents in four supportive housing buildings across the city, with a fifth under construction. We currently spend almost $400,000 on groceries in a year across our different programs. There are a lot of people in our community in need of a meal and Shepherds of Good Hope does its best to meet that need.

How does all that food get to all those people, in all those places?

A lot of it comes via our loyal and hardworking truck, also known as “Rusty Ruby”, who is on the road five days a week to pick up food from across the city and deliver it to all of our programs. On average, Rusty Ruby does about eight to ten stops a day across the city–travelling approximately 60kms a day.

Ed has been driving our truck for 3 years now. Spending a day with Ed on the truck taught me a couple of things. First of all, Ed works hard. Those boxes of cans are heavy, and they do not move themselves! Secondly, Ed cares passionately about Shepherds of Good Hope’s mission, and he shares it with everyone he can in the Ottawa community.

One challenge Ed faces on a daily basis is that the truck’s lack of refrigeration means. We often have to turn down donations since we cannot safely transport the food. This is not just a problem for our clients who are in need—it contributes to the larger issue of food waste in our society.

Ed stresses, “I’ve loved driving Rusty Ruby for all these years, but she’s been here a lot longer than I have and is reaching her age of retirement at almost 13 years old now. It would be amazing if Shepherds of Good Hope had a new, refrigerated truck so we could pick up fresh nutritious food that many of our clients desperately need.”

Unfortunately, we cannot retire Rusty Ruby until we raise enough money for a new truck. If we had a new truck that could pick up things like fresh meat and produce, we would be able to lower our food costs as well.

Feeding people who are hungry, reducing food waste, and saving money that we can in turn spend on programming to support people out of homelessness—these are all issues we care about a lot at Shepherds of Good Hope. We want to let our neighbours know first that we will be starting a campaign early October to raise money for a new truck.

If you would like to know more information about our truck campaign, please contact us at 613-789-8210 or send an email to donate@sghottawa.com and see how you can get involved.