What do you get when you combine healthy foods, conscious consuming and some of the most kind hearted people in the world? Well, that's Green Heart Kitchen of course!! I fell in love with the the fresh meal options the first time I went in to grab some lunch. But Green Heart Kitchen isn't just a great spot for fresh and frozen meals, they're also a wonderful refuge for families in need as the world faces this terrible pandemic. When speaking to Dennis about his business, my eyes were widened with amazement on the multiple meal programs they are taking part in to keep our community fed.
They are a perfect example of what community is, and am so happy to introduce only the first part in the Green Heart Kitchen series:
Tell us about your business and why you decided to open. Green Heart Lunch Club initially opened up in 2012. My sister Laila is a holistic nutritionist and with my operational background we partnered up to form the Lunch Club. We realized there was a gap and we wanted to provide healthier lunch options for kids at school. We sat down and decided on a business model that incorporated sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging which is has always been extremely important to us. We make sure that every meal has a full serving fruit and vegetables and thoughtfully sourced when possible.
In 2012 we started with one daycare and have since expanded, opening our retail location in January 2019 offering fresh and frozen meals and now working with our 30th school!
We are currently providing fresh and frozen meals, bowls and salads for pickup and delivery. We are also providing meals on wheels for Kingsville, Leamington and Wheatley.
What business was like before COVID-19?
Great! Busier than we’ve ever been. We had just picked up our 30th school and we were able to add 2 more staff to our team. 2020 was set to be our busiest year yet.
What has business been like since the outbreak of COVID-19?
It was a tough start after the pandemic. We laid off every employee we had, and it was just Haley, my wife and me. I was on 7-day weeks for the first 32 days so that we could continue to support our community with healthy foods. Since then we’ve been able to add 1 full time employee and hoping to bring more staff back in June which we are very excited for.
The government has put a lot of funding into programs like Meals on Wheels, and with the increase in need, we’ve been able to keep busy with supporting the program.
We’ve also rolled out programs like the Food Box Program and Health Heroes. Thanks to the amazing support of our community and donations to the Health Heroes Program (800 meals served!), hospitals are in good shape and are starting to refocus their support on Long Term Care. which has led us to our next program in the works called Frontline Heroes (more info to come!).
How will this impact your business long term?
The biggest impact will be what happens in the schools. We don’t know how long it will be before schools go back into session and even when they do, how is it going to look? There may be barriers that we will need to work with.
Since the pandemic, we’ve also had to shut down our salad/bowl bar which was a favourite for our customers. This means a lot of planning for the future “norm”, but we will in the work to ensure the health and safety of all of customers!
How can people help?
Firstly, you can help by liking and sharing our Instagram and Facebook pages. Secondly, if its within your budget, please consider purchasing a meal for someone you love or a healthcare worker. These programs provide amazing support for our community while also supporting all the small businesses that work to put these meals and food boxes together. You can find more details on all of our meal options and programs on our website.