Thornhill, ON – On Friday, April 5th, there was a celebration for the opening of Bernard Betel and Reena’s joint culinary initiative. Local MPP Gila Martow was joined by York Centre MPP Roman Baber and Joanne Gray from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to see the results of a Capital grant that was awarded in 2018.
In partnership with the Bernard Betel Centre, a local seniors’ community centre, Reena was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to renovate the kitchen space located at Reena’s Toby & Henry Battle Developmental Centre in Vaughan.
The project transformed the Reena facility into a commercial, state-of-the-art and professional kitchen that will be used by the Bernard Betel Centre’s Meals on Wheels social enterprise business. This social enterprise prepares and delivers approximately 100-150 meals per week to around 75,000 seniors each year in the community.
Further, this newly renovated kitchen will offer culinary skills training as well as paid employment opportunities in the social enterprise business for youth with developmental, intellectual disabilities and Autism who are participating in the SET and RSES supported employment programs at Reena.
“It’s wonderful to see different community organizations working together to find efficiencies and better serve our community,” said Thornhill MPP Gila Martow.
This collaboration builds inclusion and engage communities, by providing people who are isolated connections to their community. Together Reena and the Bernard Betel Centre will be able to serve more seniors in need and help individuals with developmental disabilities gain employment skills.
“I am proud of Reena and Bernard Betel Centre for their immense contribution to our community,” said Roman Baber, MPP for York Centre. “I hope that this grant helps them with the meaningful work they do for so many who rely on them.”
Joining the MPPs at the event were Bonnie Baker, Board Chair of Bernard Betel Centre and Gail Gould, Executive Director of Bernard Betel Centre, Bryan Keshen, President and CEO Reena and Sheila Lampert, Executive Director, Renna Foundation.
“We are grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for investing in Reena. This grant provided us with the funds necessary to strengthen our community connections and program delivery, so that more people in need can be properly supported.
We thank Reena Foundation for directing contributions from the Joel Schwartz Memorial Hockey Tournaments, to assist with the renovations and training costs for this inclusive initiative” – Bryan Keshen, President and CEO of Reena
“Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their financial support and in recognizing the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community. The partnership between Reena and the Bernard Betel Centre will allow people with developmental disabilities to learn all aspects of the Food Services industry, while at the same time respond to the growing food security needs of seniors.” – Gail Gould, Executive Director, Bernard Betel Centre.