'Blue Door at Your Door': Offering hope for the future at the Ottawa Mission

The Ottawa Mission in downtown Ottawa.

The modest door at the Ottawa Mission homeless shelter on Waller Street is a bright royal blue.

Those who work there, and those who are clients of the shelter, identify that door with compassion and with hope.

A lot of transformations happen inside that door. 

There are countless stories of people getting their lives back on track after illness, addiction,  sudden job loss, or a circumstance that’s left them vulnerable and in need. 

That bright blue door is symbol of an incredible concert you’re invited to enjoy from the comfort of your home, to raise money for those who need some support:  "The Blue Door at Your Door Concert."

In keeping with the "blue door" theme, a Blues line-up that will blow you away:  Downchild Blues Band (with special guests Dan Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer, David Wilcox, Kenny Neal, Gene Taylor and Erja Lyytinen), Colin James, Big Sugar, Sass Jordan, Matt Andersen,  MonkeyJunk, Dawn Tyler Watson plus more.

"Tune-in Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. on CTV Ottawa to enjoy the best of Canadian blues music and hear some of the extraordinary stories from people who have changed their lives because of the life-changing programs at The Mission.” says Jenn Graves, Senior Events Officer at The Ottawa Mission.

Blue Door at Your Door presented by Caivan Communities will support all of the programs at the Ottawa Mission, including The Food Services Training Program, led by Chef Ric Watson. 

Chef Ric is a man who believes in new beginnings.   He was homeless and battling addiction at just 14, when he received help and hope.

He now trains others through this culinary arts program and has almost as many student success stories as recipes. 

Lawrence Greenspon is the gala co-chair, and a fan of what he has seen happen in that kitchen.

“The food services training program is something that actually changes lives. One day somebody is a client of The Mission, on one side of the counter, and six months later they’re serving food, they’re preparing food, and within a matter of days, weeks and months, they are fully employed," said Greenspon.

Sheila Whyte and Michael Moffatt, both of Thyme and Again Catering, are the other dedicated and dynamic gala co-chairs.  They have hired many graduates.

"Having spent multiple years in this industry, I have seen a lot of second chances. I’ve met a lot of really wonderful people over the years who have suffered for one reason or another; but when they were given something to believe in, they thrived," says Moffatt.

Sheila Whyte adds, "When I walk into our kitchen now during COVID and see at least two graduates from this program saying good morning to me, I cannot help but smile and know this program works. Even during the most difficult of times."

Through that team at Thyme and Again, you are able to order a meal to enjoy while watching the concert, "Blue Door At Your Door-delivered!"  

If you already have dinner plans, you are still encouraged to call and donate.  Donations will be matched up to $75,000. 

The Ottawa Mission was built back in 1906 with a "mission" to provide food, shelter, clothing and skills and "offer healing, faith and hope for building a wholesome life."

The mission has been through a pandemic before.  It was there to help those who needed help during The Great Depression and through other "times of test." 

The team at The Ottawa Mission says, "We’ve come a long way since 1906. With the support of the community we continue to offer hope to everyone who comes through our doors."

Especially the blue one.

Tune in to The Blue Door at Your Door, presented by Caivan Communities, on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. on CTV Ottawa.