YSB's Pantry Program

Meeting a basic need with dignity.

Food. A most basic necessity.

Yet, for homeless youth, access to food is a daily challenge.

That’s why YSB offers a food bank program, our Pantry Program, at our Drop-In Centre located in downtown Ottawa.

YSB’s Drop-In Centre offers vital services to homeless, street-involved, and high-risk youth 365 days a year. Our Pantry Program provides homeless and at-risk youth access once a month to a three to four day supply of fresh and non-perishable foods. The program offers nutritious foods like milk, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, bread and pastas, and other food items.

Meeting a young person’s most basic needs first is critical if we hope to impact the rest of their lives. Food – with dignity – is one of those needs. No young person in our community should be left hungry. Thanks to the support of our community, solutions exist.

YSB proudly operates our Pantry Program as efficiently as possible, and we graciously receive support from the Ottawa Food Bank to help stock our shelves. Even so, with more than 14,000 visits to our Drop-In Centre from at-risk youth each year, YSB must annually cover a significant grocery bill to ensure all the youth in our care have access to sufficient amounts of food.

Hungry, homeless young people need your support.

You can directly support hungry homeless youth in our community. Here’s how:

  • Sponsor a meal or food for a day, week or month. All donations are tax deductible.
  • Sponsor the Pantry Program for one month. Corporations, community groups, clubs and families can cover one month of the program’s food needs.  For more information please contact Oliver Saner, Fundraising Coordinator, YSB Foundation: 613-729-0577 ext. 1260 or email: osaner@ysb.ca

Changing young lives starts with meeting their basic needs. Help us ensure homeless youth don’t go hungry this year.

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Milo's Story

Every year when I was little, I’d think “this will be the year that everything will be okay”. And every year, I’d be crushed. By the time I was 18 I couldn’t take my dad’s drinking or my mom’s crying anymore, so I packed a knapsack with the warmest clothes I had and I left. It was freezing cold, and I was alone…but I was free.

The next few months were rough and at times very scary. I spent nights in parks, doorways and even under bridges all with just an old sleeping bag a friend had given me. One night it was so cold that I walked until the sun came up, afraid that I would freeze to death if I slept.

It took me awhile to get over the embarrassment to start asking people for money. But, it was swallow my pride or stay cold and hungry. After two weeks of doing this I learned about YSB. I didn’t know it then but, in that moment, my life changed for the better. I got connected to YSB’s Young Men’s Emergency Shelter and my first night in the shelter I slept 11 hours. I felt so safe and secure. I remember that moment clearly and I felt so hopeful I now have my own apartment in one of YSB’s long-term housing buildings, am attending college to become a graphic designer, and am working part-time to support myself.

“For the first time I can remember, I’m really excited about my future. Growing up I just thought about getting by one day at a time.” I hope my story conveys just how life changing it was for me to be able to access YSB’s shelter during a really difficult time in my life. The team at YSB supported me every step of the way, and I’m grateful they were by my side. I hope you’ll consider taking the opportunity to transform the life of another young person like me today.

Milo*

*While Milo’s story is real his name has been changed to protect his privacy