LDAS prepares free breakfast for Prince Albert homeless

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald. Danika Howe (left), a University of Regina practicum student working with the Learning Disability Association of Saskatchewan (LDAS) pours coffee with help from a volunteer at the LDAS free breakfast Thursday morning.

After a successful debut last year, staff, students, and volunteers from the Learning Disability Association of Saskatchewan (LDAS) were back outside handing out free pancake breakfasts to Prince Albert’s homeless on Thursday.

The LDAS started the trend last year with their inaugural free pancake breakfast. Regional director Rona Pelletier credited their students for getting the event off the ground two years in a row.

“There were a couple students who said they used to be out on the street, and now they’re feeling good and they want to give to those who may need a little bit of help,” Pelletier explained. “I found a grant and they wrote the grant and sent it in…. It was their initiative and we just supported it 110 per cent.”

The LDAS served roughly 200 people in 2022. Pelletier said they expected to serve the same number in 2023.

The LDAS had plenty of support for this year’s free breakfast. Students from the Saskatchewan Polytech cooking program cooked the meals for free, and a local business sold LDAS breakfast sausage at a discount.

They also benefited from the SaskEnergy Share the Warmth Grant. The grant provides cash to charitable organizations providing food, warm clothing, and shelter to those who need it during Saskatchewan’s coldest months.

“I think it was really important to do it again this year because there are lots of people living out in the community that don’t get a warm meal or who need water (and) extra clothes just to stay warm, especially in these conditions,” said Macaylah Kennedy, a University of Regina social work student currently doing her practicum with the LDAS. “Our shelters are overpopulated, so it’s really important to do something for them, especially near Christmas.”

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald. Learning Disability Association of Saskatchewan instructor Ina Holmen (foreground) and volunteer Jan Malenfant (background) prepare individual breakfast platters which were handed out for free in front of the LDAS building on Central Avenue Thursday morning. Saskatchewan Polytechnic cooking students cooked the food for free.

Kennedy and fellow U of R social work student Danika Howe were responsible for applying for the grant and helping organize this year’s breakfast.

They also help LDAS students find housing, apply for assistance like the Saskatchewan Income Supplement, or just provide a listening ear.

“There’s definitely a strong demand for shelter, places to go, food, everything,” Kennedy said. “The systems are there, but sometimes it’s hard to get into them and know how to use them. Even having someone to support that is really important.”

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca