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Learning About Joan's Table

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Joan's Table

At our September 11, 2023 meeting, attended by the DDGM, we welcomed Catherine Woodman into the lodge to tell us about a fantastic community program called Joan's Table.

What is Joan's Table?

Joan’s Table is a meal donation program for individuals who experienced long-term homelessness. They work in partnership with Shelter Nova Scotia. Through community coordination, they make and deliver meals on a routine basis to tenants of The Herring Cove Apartments and The Rebuilding, which are facilities run by Shelter Nova Scotia.

Some background:

In 2017, mother and daughter team Catherine and Maura Woodman started Joan's Table, a Halifax-based volunteer initiative providing regular, healthy meals to individuals who formerly experienced long-term homelessness. Joan's Table volunteers started by proving meals to Shelter Nova Scotia tenants at Herring Cove Apartments and have expanded by also providing meals at The Rebuilding, a supported apartment complex for 19 individuals who have barriers to maintaining stable housing and require support services.

The Herring Cove Apartments, established in 2015 by Shelter Nova Scotia, is an affordable, supportive living environment dedicated to individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness and who have a long history of alcohol dependency.

Guided by Housing First Principles, the Herring Cove Apartments house 12 adults who identify as male. With 24/7 onsite staff, tenants are given help to identify personal goals and build social relationships. They also receive assistance with medication and money management skills.

Shelter Nova Scotia

Housing First

The 12 tenants live in three four-bedroom apartments, with a shared living room and kitchen. There is a staff office, kitchen, and communal gathering place on the first floor.

​A combination of government and non-profit funding covers Shelter Nova Scotia programming, staff, and building costs. But there is no budget for food.

That's where Joan's Table comes in.​

“Joan’s Table is really about the over 200 volunteers who sign up, plan, make and deliver meals from the generosity of their hearts.” says Catherine. "The entire initiative is built on volunteer time, energy and commitment. Joan’s Table volunteers have made over 1000 meals (each one a community meal for 12 or 19 so we're really talking about many thousands of individual meals). A terrific testament to the power of community, volunteerism, ease of engagement, and a desire to address homelessness by turning compassion into action.”

"Volunteers are vital to the work we do. We appreciate their time and dedication, and so do the people we serve. Regular meals assist individuals in making good decisions and help promote stability. We are so grateful that Joan’s Table donors understand that truth. Joan’s Table is saving lives. This is not an exaggeration,” says Linda Wilson, Executive Director at Shelter Nova Scotia.

After Catherine concluded her presentation, there was an excellent Q&A session with many members in attendance asking multiple questions. The Brethren in attendance were very appreciative of Catherine taking the time to educate them on such an important and worthwhile program and were greatly impressed with accomplishments to date. Oh how the Masonic wheels started turning in the minds of many who attended this meeting.

At the end of the evening after the meeting was closed, the lodge made a food donation to The Herring Cove Apartments.

And the wheels are still turning...

Masonic Faith Hope and Charity

Nova Scotia Masonic Foundation


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