Windsor, Ont. restaurant offers affordable dining options for those on a tight budget

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This Windsor, Ont., restaurant serves people who can't afford to pay



“Free Food, Smiles, and Mental Health Benefits”

Ten Friends Diner in Windsor, Ont. is doing more than just serving up delicious meals. They’re cooking extra food for people who cannot afford a meal and dishing it out for free. What’s even more remarkable is that the staff at Ten Friends are the ones getting the benefits of working at this non-profit establishment striving to provide support and employment training for people with mental illness.

Benefits Beyond a Paycheck

When Steven Cromie, the restaurant’s peer leader, talked about how the staff collects donations to pay for meals for anyone who can’t afford them, his words reflected a deep sense of empathy and compassion. “It’s just to help them out,” he said. “You don’t really want to see them walking around not eating.” And his testimony about his own struggles with ADHD and depression echoed the sentiment of the warm environment that Ten Friends offers. “It’s helped me come in. I haven’t called in sick in forever,” Cromie shared, indicating the positive impact it has had on his mental health.

Similarly, Brandon Poore and Joshua Warner, workers at Ten Friends, attested to the mental health improvements they have experienced since joining the staff. Poore mentioned that the experience has helped him gain control over his anxiety, and he’s even venturing into training to serve. Warner, on the other hand, has seen a significant change in managing his mania, something that previously led him to hospitalization. The positive environment and sense of purpose have evidently made a difference in their lives.

Contributing to a Worthy Cause

Beyond just serving up free meals, Ten Friends is also engaging with the community to raise funds to support their mission. The staff collect donations for the “homeless fund,” where customers can contribute to help feed people in need. Additionally, they hold fundraisers and charity events like bingos to further support their cause. There is a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose that’s evident in their efforts to contribute to alleviating hunger and supporting mental health.

Closing Thoughts: A Recipe for Impact & Change

Ten Friends Diner’s story is a compelling reminder of the positive impact businesses can have beyond just the profit margins. From providing free meals to those in need to being a supportive environment for those struggling with mental health, this community-driven initiative boasts of selflessness, kindness, and a commitment to making a difference. It prompts introspection and encourages consideration of how each of us can play a role, whether big or small, in contributing to a more compassionate and supportive society. Because, after all, a little empathy and a warm meal can go a long way in lighting up someone’s day and possibly changing their life.



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