On April 3, 2012, L’Arche Tova Café at 119 Regent Ave. West in Transcona opened its doors. The name of the café comes from the Hebrew word ‘tova’ which means ‘good’, and it’s a perfect name for a place that does so much good.
The café provides meaningful employment opportunities for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities who often face societal challenges like isolation and discrimination. It’s a social enterprise of L’Arche, an international organization founded by Canadian Jean Vanier in 1973. The mission of L’Arche is to publicize the notion that the gifts of people with developmental disabilities are unique; it’s an idea that also sums up Jean Vanier’s insight into people with developmental disabilities.
With fresh, made-to-order entreés and homemade desserts, the café offers a delicious array of breakfast, lunch and dinner selections. Well received in the neighbourhood and in Winnipeg, the café has been steadily busy. Make sure to try the scrumptious royal gala apple strudel when you go.
“Our goal is to have an attractive place with excellent service and food and to represent people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a positive light. This is ‘a place of hope’ because we offer support and purpose for people with disabilities,” said Jim Lapp executive director of L’Arche Winnipeg Inc.
L’Arche Winnipeg has homes in Transcona, Windsor Park and St. Norbert where there are 28 people living with a disability and 25 – 30 volunteer assistants.
“We are a day program where people with disabilities can come to work and interact with others. Our employees with disabilities come from L’Arche and other agencies. We also offer work experience for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities from Kildonan East Collegiate food prep program and other high schools,” said Lapp.
“A young man from Kildonan East Collegiate came to the café every day last summer as a volunteer because he loved it so much here. He learned how to make breakfast on the grill and he now is on work experience at the café.”
“We have another young man who lasted only three days at all his previous work placements. He has been here since last April and he loves what he does.”
“We have people who work here with a full range of abilities, but our main goal is to always have someone with a disability here hosting because we want the public to get to know them and their gifts.”
Winnipeg philanthropists Larry and Tova Vickar have generously supported L’Arche Tova Café. The café is also backed by many local charities and businesses: The Winnipeg Foundation, the Thomas Sill Foundation, the United Way of Winnipeg, L’Arche Canada, the Manitoba Community Services Council, Casera Credit Union, the St. Mary’s Road United Church Foundation, NV Reykdal & Associates Ltd., Red River Cooperative, Bond Printing Ltd., Rick’s Custom Masonry and Penny Scott-Mazur Design.
L’Arche Winnipeg is sponsoring the Vickar Community of Dealerships on Regent 9th Annual Walk with L’Arche on Sunday, May 5, 2013. This annual walk uses 100% of all pledges raised to help maintain and improve the quality of life for L’Arche members with developmental disabilities and their volunteer assistants. For more information contact L’Arche Winnipeg Inc. at 204-237-0300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
L’Arche Winnipeg is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2013 with a banquet and dance on June 8, 2013. Deadline to purchase tickets for this event is May 21, 2013.