900 rotisserie chicken meals donated to homeless people in Montreal

Catherine Vouchon, who heads food services at Montreal's Old Brewery Mission, got to take it a bit easier on Sunday, but hundreds of homeless people in the city were still getting fed a hot meal.

That's because Yves Lalime, a Rôtisseries Au Coq franchise owner, ensured 900 meals were delivered to five different community organizations.

For Vouchon, the donation was a nice Christmas present for both her and her colleagues after working tirelessly since the early days of the pandemic.

But the clients were grateful as well, she said.

"I can tell in their eyes that they're really happy and that makes me happy too," she said.

For weeks, restaurants in Quebec have been closed and only able to serve takeout and delivery.

With the extra food on hand, the Quebec-based rotisserie chicken franchise owner decided to give it all away.

"We just wanted homeless people to have a Christmas like everyone else. It supports organizations for a day and brings a little joy to people's lives," said Lalime in a statement.

Lalime owns the Au Coq restaurant in Montreal's Central Station.

Alexandre Joly, director of operations for the company, said Au Coq is happy to support organizations like the Old Brewery Mission, which offers a variety of services to people experiencing homelessness in Montreal.

"We are really glad for them that they can experience this in these tough times," he said. "COVID is not easy. It's not easy for them either."

Kwabena Oduro/CBC
Kwabena Oduro/CBC

But Au Coq isn't the only business or restaurant looking to support those in need this year, despite the economic struggles brought on by the public health restrictions enacted by the provincial government.

Jasmin Guénette of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said giving to the community is a long-standing tradition for small business owners.

"No one should be surprised to see local businesses giving away inventory that will not be used to local charities because that's what small businesses have been doing forever," she said.

Either way, Vouchon said she's grateful for the support at the Old Brewery Mission.

She said it's nice when a restaurant owner thinks to give the food away rather than toss it in the trash and she hopes more will do the same.

"It's like a little positivity in all this negativity," she said.