This year marks the 20th anniversary of Krackers Katering, Causeway’s first social enterprise and Ottawa’s longest running employment-based social enterprise.
Established in 1999, Krackers Katering was started as a way to provide clients seeking services at Causeway the opportunity to gain skills and experience in a supportive and understanding work environment.
What we quickly realized was that beyond gaining the practical experience and skill, employees working at Krackers gained confidence in their abilities to work regardless of the barriers they face and hope that they can find work in the future.
Inspired by Causeway’s mission to help people with barriers to employment such as mental illness or disabilities find lasting and rewarding work, social enterprise was a new and innovative way to help people and benefit the community.
In its first year of operation, Krackers only brought in $5,000 in revenue. That’s enough to purchase about one eighth of a new delivery van by today’s numbers. Nonetheless, we saw the invaluable effects of employment in social enterprise on our clients.
A then-Krackers employee explained the effect of working at Krackers:
“I have been ill since I was young and I’ve been in and out of hospitals for as long as I can remember…but I finally started to get a grip on my illness since I started here. I am coming out [on] the good end. Krackers has given me something to strive for. We’ve all been through difficult times and doing what we do now is a little triumph.”
Since then, Krackers Katering continued growing and experienced its fair share of ups and downs. In 2004, Krackers received a donation of a 1993 Dodge Caravan only to have it stolen 2 years later. After a plea to the community for help, Krackers received a donation of a used van as well as an extra donation of money.
While the business has expanded and revenues increased to over $500,000, its mission remains unchanged: Krackers Katering is managed on the belief that financial profit should never come at the expense of peoples’ growth, independence and well-being.
To learn more or order from Krackers Katering, please visit: https://krackerskatering.org/