Sizzling breakfast and heat welcome at Third Area Café for folks experiencing homelessness

The Bridge Church volunteers Karin Vermeer and Tena Schuyler, together with Third Area Café government director Lisa VanderKlippe, serve breakfast to Oscar Hernandez and his son Damian at one of many each day free breakfasts at Third Area in downtown Niagara Falls.

  • The Bridge Church volunteers Karin Vermeer and Tena Schuyler, along with Third Space Café executive director Lisa VanderKlippe, serve breakfast to Oscar Hernandez and his son Damian at one of the daily free breakfasts at Third Space in downtown Niagara Falls.
  • The Third Space Café is host to free daily breakfasts every day of the year, courtesy of The Bridge Church. The church is hosting a fundraising bowling event in April to help pay for the thousands of meals served annually.

Oscar Hernandez and his younger grownup son Damian discovered themselves roughing it through the lifeless of winter in Niagara Falls just lately.

“Once I got here right here I used to be sleeping with my son on the street for every week,” he stated. “It’s very robust, particularly within the wintertime.”

However quickly Hernandez, initially from El Salvador, heard in regards to the free breakfasts being served twelve months a 12 months on the Third Area Café on Queen Road and he and Damian walked by means of the doorways.

Hernandez stated they have been welcomed with open arms and no judgment.

“If it wasn’t for them I wasn’t going to have the ability to proceed,” he stated, his voice cracking with emotion. “I’m very grateful to those folks.”

It was a latest Wednesday morning and Karin Vermeer and Tena Schuyler from The Bridge Church proper subsequent door — which began the not-for-profit Third Area about 5 years in the past — have been volunteering to serve up freshly ready quiche and occasional to the visitors who arrive.

Steve deBoer, new pastor for the church, stated Third Area is averaging about 55 to 60 folks a day, many experiencing homelessness or residing precariously at non permanent shelters, on the free breakfast program.

As a result of the house is small, visitors with out wherever to remain typically must line up exterior and 15 folks at a time are allowed in, whereas others who’re housed however don’t have any cash to eat get takeout breakfasts.

DeBoer stated along with getting meals of their stomach earlier than heading off to locations such because the downtown public library to remain heat, guests get a heaping dose of human kindness.

“The connection is vital,” he stated. “Once they come, we attempt to look them within the eye, we welcome them by identify the place potential, we acknowledge their humanity and we sit and discuss with them.

“We imagine everyone is created by God and beloved by God and inherently deserving of respect and dignity and has worth,” stated deBoer

Third Area receives no authorities funding for the free meals which can be even served up on Christmas morning. Whereas the church is making use of for grants, it wants to lift some huge cash to pay for hundreds of meals yearly.

“The very best day can be if no one confirmed up on the doorways,” stated deBoer. “The reality is the alternative is going on. The traces are getting longer.”

The church is internet hosting a fundraising Bowling for Breakfasts occasion at Cataract Bowl on Lundy’s Lane on Saturday, April 22 and it’s searching for groups of 4 to 6 folks to enroll with a minimal of $500 raised per workforce. To register, go to

A newcomer to the breakfast program is a person initially from Brazil who was paying about $2,500 a month to hire an condo at a short-term rental residence within the metropolis till his cash ran out and he discovered himself with no residence.

“I used to be type of determined,” stated the person, who didn’t need his identify used as a result of he’s an undocumented immigrant. “I discovered myself with none work.”

He was advised about Third Area however hesitated going.

“I used to be ashamed,” he stated. “(However) I didn’t eat for 2 days.”

When he walked by means of the door, the person stated he felt welcomed immediately.

“They only accepted me and handled me so properly,” he stated. “I’m simply so grateful. What they do right here is wonderful.”

Oscar Hernandez, in the meantime, simply landed a job as a prepare dinner at a Clifton Hill restaurant and his son simply obtained a job as a bartender the day earlier than.

“We will see a greater alternative, a greater life,” he stated. “We will see a lightweight on the finish of the tunnel.”

For extra info, electronic mail [email protected].


Niagara This Week visited The Third Area Café in downtown Niagara Falls to learn the way its free breakfasts program is impacting folks experiencing homelessness or in tenuous residing situations.

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