TORONTO -- It was an idea born in the kitchen, and one that Karen Ferguson hopes will connect her community further.

“Some of us love to cook, and we have nobody to cook for,” she tells CTV News Toronto. “So my job in all of this is to connect those people that really enjoy cooking with those people that would really enjoy receiving a meal.” 

In November, the Lindsay, Ont. resident started ‘You Got a Friend’ – a project where members of the community who could use a little help are able to request a meal from generous volunteer cooks in the neighbourhood. 

Ferguson says she was inspired after seeing how much food was leftover when she and her husband would prepare their favouite meals. 

“We all know how expensive it is to pick up a roast to feed a family with a couple kids,” she said. “And it’s hard to prepare things that you enjoy cooking, like big pans of lasagna and big pots of stew or homemade soup, for one or two people.” 

Not wanting any food to go to waste, Ferguson called upon friends to volunteer to donate one of their favourite homemade meals a month. 

Toronto together

“When Karen came to me about it, I thought it was wonderful,” says Trista Brown, a volunteer with ‘You Got a Friend.’ 

“It’s actually preparing something from the heart with my own two hands in my kitchen, and hopefully yeah everybody gets satisfaction from it.”

Ferguson says the process is completely confidential, and that she has a Facebook page and an email address for anyone who would like to be the recipient of a meal. Volunteers then connect with the recipient to schedule a time for a contactless delivery drop-off. 

“You reach out to the person that’s on your list and you prepare a nice hot, home-cooked meal and you deliver it to them once a month for six months,” Ferguson adds. 

Brown says that this ‘families helping families’ project has brought the town of Lindsay even closer together. 

“We have a very close-knit community,” she tells CTV News Toronto. “And so with me being in the kitchen every day cooking for my family, it was just one more meal, one more house, once a month.”

“We all realize that these are tough times for everybody,” Ferguson adds. “We’re just trying to help out a friend.” 

You can find out more about You Got a Friend here.

Toronto togetherVolunteers Victoria Stewart (left) and Ruby Lockhart are seen preparing meals as part of the ‘You Got a Friend’ initiative.