Announcements, News

Love Barton–TrueCity in Support of 541

This is a recent letter from the staff of 541 which we wanted to share as broadly as we can–

Since 541 Eatery & Exchange opened four years ago, the support of a diverse group of Hamilton churches has been key to our success as a both a ministry and a restaurant. With members of TrueCity churches donating, staffing, volunteering, and patronizing the cafe, it is not an exaggeration to say that 541 is the product of Hamilton churches working together for the good of the city.

541 cannot do anything without the support of our community, and now as we try to move forward after a violent incident, we humbly ask our Hamilton community to come through for us again.

On May 1st a dispute between two customers resulted in one of them assaulting the other inside 541 Eatery & Exchange. The victim was taken to hospital, and the other was taken into custody by the police. We are happy to say that the victim was discharged from the hospital later that day and has since been back to eat at 541.

While this was a very serious and awful thing to have happen, we also believe it was an isolated event. We have since hosted a trauma recovery session led by Shalem Mental Health for the staff and volunteers who were present for the incident to help us all move forward together in the Kingdom being built at 541. We will continue to open our doors to be a to be a faithful and loving presence to our neighbours.

Our regular button-using customers are undeterred. Most of our vulnerable friends have no other options for a solid daily meal, but just as importantly, we are a family. But many of our button-buying regulars or curious first-timers have been scared off by this event, worried that they may encounter dangerous people if they come to 541 again. Our kids programs are flourishing, our community garden is sprouting, but the financial reality is that we need to bring back our customers in order to keep the lights on!

What we need now is a wave of supporters to show others that they do not need to be afraid of our neighbourhood. So we invite you to Love Barton. Come visit us and see the good things that God is up to. Taste our summer specials and then take your Maple Iced Latte to go and explore our neighbourhood! On our block alone you can browse through an impressive selection used books at River Trading Company and pick up a beautiful bouquet from House of Penney Floral Design. Come and let us show you that even though violence is present in our city, so is beauty and love. Share your pictures with #LoveBarton and spread the word that there is lots to love on our street!