Ocean Wise lingcod

What if restaurant diners could provide a meal to someone in need while enjoying their own?

The answer to this question is Mealshare. The devoted five-member team is out to help less fortunate members of society to gain access to a proper meal, starting with Canada.

In just two years, co-founders Andrew Hall and Jeremy Bryant – along with over 300 restaurants across the country – have given out 280,000 meals and counting and are committed to making Mealshare a long-term partnership, working with some of the best restaurants in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. Restaurants partner with Mealshare to give back by sharing wholesome meals.

Harvest garden sandwich
[Harvest garden sandwich: Scratch-made crunchy quinoa, spent grain and white cheddar patty, toasted focaccia, mushrooms, onion, parsley shallot aioli]

11 new Vancouver restaurants have just signed on, accounting for 43,000 meals alone. As Craft Beer Market is one of the Vancouver partners, it was fitting to have a launch party in their private dining room last night. In the Downtown Eastside, Mission Possible is a direct recipient of the program. On an international level, Save the Children Canada gets half the meals (locally, Mission Possible gets the other half). 

There are partner charities in each city that Mealshare works in, providing shelter, education, and opportunity for those who really need it. Partner charities are selected based on efficiently delivering healthy meals to anyone who needs them.

Andrew Hall, Derek Juno of Mealshare
[L to R: Andrew Hall, Co-Founder; Derek Juno, VP Business Development]

Internationally, meals provided through Save the Children are created using local ingredients, typically containing rice or couscous, served with veggies and beans.

Mealshare’s current Save the Children project is focused on Mali, Africa, working to provide meals to 5,000 kids across 14 schools, offering a great incentive to get parents to send their kids to school. The current restaurant partner count is up to 300 and growing, including 35 in Vancouver.

Restaurants, including Vancouver favourites Edible Canada at the Market, Fable Kitchen, and Farmer’s Apprentice, pick at least two items on their menus to feature as Mealshare options. A Mealshare icon next to the dish on the menu (similar to Ocean Wise’s concept) marks which dishes are targeted for the second meal given to those in need. Restaurants can focus on certain menu items to feature based on seasonal ingredients, new dishes to highlight, etc.

The dollar figure provided by restaurants is $1.00 per Mealshare item. It’s amazing, but that’s all it takes to provide a meal to someone in need. Click here for a list of Vancouver restaurants.

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