The model of St. John’s Kitchen is grounded in the culture of the people gathering in the space, and the philosophy of The Working Centre. It can be described as a gathering around the Kitchen Table. Everyone is welcome at the Table. People do not need to fulfill any requirements, or even give their names, to participate. People can join the Table when they are under the influence of substances. Through conversations and intimacy, strangers become friends and ideas take form. From these relationships and ideas, community grows and culture evolves.
It is this continually evolving culture that offers the greatest and most irreplaceable form of support for the community gathering at St. John’s Kitchen. It has emerged through the intertwining of Working Centre philosophy and the values of people gathering at St. John’s Kitchen – many with roots in the local street culture. To read more about the culture of St. John’s Kitchen and how it acts as a support for people, click here.
Over the decades, St. John’s Kitchen has become a place for people to support each other, for community organizations to meet and serve people, and for people to connect to the wider community. By inviting people to join the Table and talk about their experiences and ideas, and by responding to those conversations creatively, St. John’s Kitchen has also become a place for innovative projects to incubate. Together, these elements make St. John’s Kitchen an important place within Waterloo Region’s wider network of support for people who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or street involved.
In 2015, we interviewed over 60 people connected with St. John’s Kitchen to develop a report documenting the model of St. John’s Kitchen in-depth. Click here to read the full report.