With ever-increasing food prices the cost of SSAC hot meals has been rising. There are also continual equipment maintenance and replacement costs associated with kitchen operations. For instance, recently we have purchased nearly $3,000 in ergonomic food prep choppers and slicers. These choppers and slicers are welcome additions for our volunteer food preppers to minimise manual repetitive stress issues associated with aging. For some of our seniors, food security is a big issue. This program is an opportunity for the more comfortably placed members to help those who are less fortunate. All our members deserve to be able to come in and enjoy an affordable, high-quality meal made with quality fresh ingredients. Monthly kitchen income is accrued from meal and frozen entrée sales. Expenses include Chefs Emily’s and Liz’s wages and benefits, food costs, equipment maintenance and replacement costs and complimentary meals for volunteers. There will always be expenses due to new equipment purchase or replacement and repair. For example, we recently had to purchase a new upright freezer to expand our frozen storage capability.

The purpose of the Affordable Lunch Program is to keep the price of meals and frozen entrées to an affordable level. From September 5th for the foreseeable future, maximum member prices for hot entrées will be held at $10 and $12, full salads at $8 and frozen entrées being held at $6 and $8. The price of entrées and full salads for guests of members would have a surcharge of $4, reflecting the fact that member prices are subsidized. The price of soup, sandwiches and desserts would not be subject to any surcharge. Frozen entrées will continue to be available only for purchase by members.

Net kitchen revenue is the difference between sales income and the total expenses. The expectation is that by limiting meal prices, there will be a negative monthly net kitchen revenue. When there is a monthly deficit, the budget will be balanced with funds drawn from the Affordable Lunch Program donation pool. By limiting meal prices, and based upon a projected drop in sales revenue and an increase in overall yearly kitchen costs, there is the potential of a $10,000 yearly deficit.

This will be an ongoing campaign, however, an initial program target of $10,000 will be set. This should be appropriate to cover the projected revenue deficit for the following 12 months. The campaign would have 3-monthly goals of $2,500 to achieve the goal of $10,000 by year’s end. There will be monthly reporting of kitchen net revenue and funds required to top it up to balance the income and expenses to achieve a net zero balance. The program will be reviewed every 3 months, with any modifications being dependent upon a combination of any increased food and services costs and the success of the donation program.

To contribute to this campaign, there will be a wooden chest next to the lunch cashier podium to deposit spare change and small bills. Larger donations, with the option of receiving a tax receipt, can be made at the front desk using cash, cheque, credit card or debit card. In the past month, $355 has been donated to general revenue in small amounts by individuals who have come into the Centre and enjoyed the meals and social environment.

We are using these funds to seed the Affordable Lunch Program. Hopefully, this program will help to ensure that all of our members can afford one of Emily’s amazing meals.