Melani and her family are no strangers to community service and community outreach. Having integrated themselves in Milton over the last 10 years, they have, through her restaurant businesses, given back in many ways. Melani started building her brand, “Chef Melani Bestians” about 3 years ago with her food truck UNDONE – Island food with a twist and two years ago bought the ever popular The Green Eatery on Martin Street. Since then, she added Caribbean Vibes, Cup of Love and Milton’s Food Truck Plaza to her branded line of restaurants.
An entrepreneur at heart, Melani understands that entrepreneurship isn’t only about business. It’s about community and service. Her deep faith also plays a part in her undeniable need to give back. She has spearheaded many initiatives and has played a role, with a helping hand in fundraisers around town, where she could. It was a recent meeting for 100 Women Who Care that really opened her eyes to the dire need in our community to support families with food insecurity . “Whether it is mental health, abusive relationships or simply not having enough, there are many reasons why families need this support” shared Melani.
One of her many initiatives, is the Community Fridge at her newest restaurant, Caribbean Vibes at 171 Main St E, Milton. The CCAH has funded the Community Fridge with their private member donations to be housed at Carribean Vibes. Food For Life Canada has very generously offered to fill the fridge along with other community partners. The goal is to be able to have readily available food for anyone with a need. Community members can pick up a bag of fresh “GOOD FOOD bags” filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a hot meal, no questions asked. “The concept of the Community Fridge opened my eyes even more, to the real need in Milton” says Melani. Community Foundation Of North Halton has granted the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton a generous grant which the CCAH is in turn, paid forward to “No One Goes Hungry in Milton on a Sunday #NOGH”. Where they cook 350 meals with volunteers which they deliver and distribute to local Milton neighbors and friends in need.
Melani knew that there would be many businesses willing to contribute. She began reaching out to fellow, like-minded restaurant owners for collaborations. Hillary’s Cupcakes, Food For Life, Louie’s Diner and Arkya’s Cupcakes, happily jumped on board, supplying food and donating their time. #NOGH in Milton, as it is now known through social media platforms, is gaining momentum very quickly. November 1st marked the inaugural Sunday for the event at Carribean Vibes where 242 people were blessed with a hot meal. The number increased on the following Sunday, blessing 268 people. Every Sunday since, has seen hundreds of families, volunteers and friends come out to receive a meal, help out, donate and just be part of this beautiful blessing. The crowds had Melani thinking about how much more need there must be in other communities. No One Goes Hungry in Oakville on a Saturday launched on Dec 5th, where they gave away 130 melas and GOOD FOOD bags. Along with the CCAH, FFL and grant funding from the Oakville Community Foundation and many volunteers the launch was a success.
Melani’s wish is to bring the community together to end hunger where possible. “I can not see why we can’t replicate this model in every community across Canada”! Family Matters Magazine agrees with Melani. With community, resources, time and faith, there is no reason why communities across the country couldn’t pool their resources, surplus food and offer this wonderful blessing.
If you would like to get involved in any capacity, whether it be with a monetary donation, a donation of your time, food or in any other way, please reach out to Melani. Let us all make sure No One Goes Hungry anywhere!
To get involved please email HungerFreeMilton@gmail.com or to donate visit CCAH.CA and pick “Hunger Free Halton” in the note to charity comment “For Milton” or “For Oakville”