Niagara Falls Community Outreach is a volunteer based charitable organization. Our volunteers range from all ages, from students in grade 7 to grandparents. Approximately 300 dedicated people from various churches and the public at large give generously of their time and talent to make this program possible. Our Board of Directors is elected annually and oversees the operation of the program.
In 2008 the Community Kitchen, with 23 years experience, merged with Out of the Cold which had been operating for 12 years. Both programs had similar mission statements. Our guests are a cross section of society including all ages from single mothers with young children to senior citizens. Many face the challenges of unemployment, seasonally based employment, or fixed incomes. Some are dealing with physical, emotional, or mental challenges. We strive to create an inclusive environment where our guests feel safe, respected, and always leave well-fed!
We are always looking to expand our Board and welcome new volunteers and members.
We are seeking candidates whom offer the following expertise and experience:
* Communications/Marketing * Human Resource
* Community Development * Legal
* Non-profit Governance * Strategic Planning
* Fundraising/Revenue Generation * Ties to Business/Community
* Accountability * Strategic Thinker
* Mission and Values Driven * Visionary
Click here if you’d like to get involved.
Chris Watling – Chair
Chris was born and raised in Niagara Falls and spent her career working for Public Health in Niagara Region. Raised by a father who taught her that volunteering was a part of belonging to a community, she began working in the Soup Kitchen in 2002. She is happy to serve on the board, fundraise, and cook on Thursday nights in the winter. She loves spending time with her family and friends.
Cathy Wright- Secretary
Cathy grew up in small town Niagara-on-the-Lake. She has worked in Commercial Marketing for local Insurance Brokerages for the past 35 years. Cathy started volunteering on Boards when her daughter first entered daycare and they asked her to sit on their Board, which she gladly did for several years. Cathy has been the Secretary on the board of the NF Insurance Brokers Association for over 20 years.
Cathy became involved with the Soup Kitchen about 10 years ago. Verna Craig, one of the original founding members of the Kitchen, would visit Cathy’s office, looking for donations from her boss (who was always glad to contribute). Cathy’s boss introduced the two ladies and together they were able to get the Insurance Association involved at the Kitchen, and the Association continues to support to this day with donations.
Verna asked Cathy to join the Board back in 2008 as a secondary Secretary, and within 2 years she became the primary and only Secretary. Fellow Board members convinced her to also volunteer serving in the Kitchen, which Cathy does gladly for Thursday evening suppers. She has enjoyed serving so much, she has pulled her sister into the Kitchen to help as well. Thursday evening suppers are always fun at the Kitchen and the Thursday supper team have become wonderful friends.
Cathy strongly believes in giving back to those less fortunate, because you never know when you may need a helping hand. She believes what you give out is what comes back to you !!!
Kerrie Palumbi- Treasurer
Harry Watling – Purchasing
Harry has been active at the Kitchen since 2006. Since Winter 2009 he took on the job of grocery shopping. Harry sits on the Board and works on the Thursday night supper crew during the Winter. He is a retired accountant having worked his career in construction. Proud father of two daughters and a son, he enjoys life’s greatest blessing: three grandsons and two granddaughters! He and Chris enjoy volunteering at Pathstones Mental Health and at an Elementary breakfast program. They have lived their married life here in Niagara and share a home with Angus their wee dog!
Judy Todd – Vice Chair
Judy Todd is a Niagara Falls native who has volunteered with the dinner program at the Soup Kitchen for seven years and has sat on the Board for the last three.
She was previously the Volunteer Coordinator and now sits on the Fundraising Committee. She has also volunteered for Project Share and the Niagara Falls Red Raiders.
Bonnie Brady – Fundraising
Bonnie Brady retired from teaching in 2014 after a 35 year career in both Peel and Niagara Region. She has two grown sons and resides in Niagara Falls.
She has a multitude of volunteer experience mostly through coaching within the community and the schools. She sits on the Board of The City Of Niagara Falls Recreation Committee as well as actively volunteers with Rotary Club.
Sherry Buckborough – Fundraising
Sherry recently joined the Board and has been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen occasionally for the past five years.
She is retired from the District School Board of Niagara and has volunteered at many various school functions and fundraisers. She served on the Board of the Red Raiders Basketball Association as Registrar for 3 years.
Other volunteer experiences include Education Foundation of Niagara, Niagara Marathon, NIFEE and Canadian Cancer Society.
Kayla Kleber – Social Media
Kayla Kleber was born and raised in Niagara Falls and attended Stamford Collegiate. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and German at Brock University, she pursued a career in the Environmental Sector. Currently employed as a Waste Management Intern at Niagara Region, her goal is to continue to raise awareness and implement positive change regarding the diverse social and environmental issues within the community. Kayla has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara, International Student Volunteers, spent many summers volunteering with the Niagara United Soccer Club, and has been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen since 2017.
Carolynne Canham – Volunteer Coordinator
Carolynne Canham was raised in Niagara Falls on Ryerson Crescent and attended Simcoe Street School and Niagara Falls Collegiate. After graduating from Hamilton Teachers’ College she began her teaching career at Drummond Road School. Carolynne was a teacher and Principal in the Niagara Falls schools for over 40 years, retiring in 1998. Numerous volunteer activities and grandchildren have kept her busy in her retirement years. Carolynne was a board member of Niagara Support Services and NTEC and served as President of Niagara Support Services for two terms. She has been an executive of Retired Teachers of Ontario and worked to improve the circumstances of all retired people in our community.
Carolynne and her husband Bob, also a teacher and school Principal, now live in St Catharines; but when looking for a new volunteer opportunity she was drawn back to her home town. Although travelling has become a large part of her life she is thrilled to be a part of such an enterprise. After listening to Chris Watling talk about The Soup Kitchen, Carolynne came out to see for herself and was so impressed with what this group does that she applied for an opening on the Board and is ready to do her part in keeping the organization thriving. Carolynne currently sits on the Board as our Volunteer Coordinator.
Brandon Agnew – Community Liason
Brandon is currently employed by Niagara Region Public Health as a Community Health Broker that focuses on serving priority populations. He studied Social Justice & Peace at the University of Western Ontario, and is currently completing a Leadership in Community Engagement certificate at McMaster University. His experience in community development and homelessness prevention drew him to volunteer with the Soup Kitchen.