Hope’s Kitchen began because of the cold and COVID-19.
The pandemic had just begun last March when, fearing the virus would spread among the local homeless population, the city of North Bay, Ont., closed its only warming centre. That night the temperature plummeted to -20 C.
“It left people out on the street overnight without any shelter available,” said Katie Valiquette. “When we found that out, it kind of broke our hearts.”
Valliquette, 35, and her husband Chris Brown own and operate Flat-Rate Towing and Recovery, a tow-truck company in North Bay — a city of about 50,000.
“So what we ended up doing was opening our garage doors,” Valiquette said. “We ran a barbecue out the back door and made sure everybody had a full meal. We had set up chairs inside the garage for a place for people to go and warm up.”
Valiquette kept her garage open for two days, until the city reopened its own facility. She and her husband bonded with…