Participation in activities is about getting involved, doing something interesting, building skills and adding value. There are activities for everyone and suggestions for new activities are always welcome. See our calendar for current and upcoming activities.

Food Plus

Healthy Kitchen

The food preparation and the kitchen activities are the central focus at Start Me Up Niagara’s inspected kitchen. These activities include Food Preparation, Weekend Lunches, Workshops, Cooking lessons, Baking, Canning, monthly employment luncheons and Pasta Dinner Fundraisers. The kitchen makes every effort to utilize the fresh produce from our garden in Vineland in any food preparation. The activities of the SMUN Kitchen are as diverse as the people who come to use the services and the many volunteers who get involved for the common goal of helping others.

Workshops are scheduled throughout the year. A variety of topics related to food are covered; how to make gnocchi, homemade sausages, kale chips, savory or sweet jams, and perogies.
Do you know what to do with all that zucchini, eggplant or garlic? We can help. In our workshops you can be the teacher or the student. If you have a favorite recipe you want to share or if you want to learn how to make something speak to Susan in the kitchen, and look for our notices for the next workshop date. A new food preparation certification course is underway (open to OW Income Support only), next course starts in June, 2016, see Susan Stevenson or Ada Storin.

The garden and the kitchen work together to bring fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden to the tables of the people in the community We do this in many ways, like preparing the soup for the weekend lunch, using zucchini to make hot muffins for the kiosk, cutting cucumber slices for a refreshing treat at the counter in the centre, or by sharing the produce with participants, community members, and partners of SMUN.

Green Garden

The Start Me Up Niagara’s 2 acre Green Garden, located on land generously donated by Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has been growing fresh nutritious food for SMUN lunches and participants since 2010.  This supplied SMUN’s healthy kitchen and was shared with volunteers, the Good Food Box and the local community. Our produce was also sold at SMUN’s neighbourhood kiosk and was the focus for the annual harvest festival held in Centennial Park.

During the growing season transportation is provided to the garden Monday through Thursday. Volunteers enjoy being out of the city and working together in the garden to grow healthy produce.

In the middle of the vegetable garden there is a Labyrinth, a place of healing and quiet featuring native flowers and herbs, butterflies, bumble-bees and a quiet bench under a leafy trellis. This special place is maintained with the help of the Gateway Residential and Community Support Services, Mainstream, Master Gardeners and the St. Catharines Horticulture Society.

To join the volunteer farm crew talk to Tony.

Street News

Some SMUN participants were complaining about never having their voices heard when issues of homelessness and poverty were covered in the media. After discussion they decided to start a newspaper.

The first edition of Street News was released December 2006. A paper for and by people who live close to the street became a new outlet for information and a forum for the expression of creative ideas and opinions. It has grown since 2006 through the writing of many, and with the dedicated effort of editor in chief Liz Roulston, copy editor Melissa “Rainbow” and art director Julia Blushak.

Street News continues with the intention to add more voice to the community dialogue.

Drop off articles to Liz at the centre. The next issue always in the works!

Read the latest issue here.

Art & Music

A piano and guitar are just some of the musical instruments that are always available. Art supplies are available on request to be used in the centre. Participants will frequently entertain others, especially on birthdays and special events. See SMUN calendar for scheduled art classes. Meet at the centre Thursdays for ‘Expressions’- open to all, try your hand at creative expression.


SMUN has a variety of books in its well stocked library. It has a take-a-book, bring-a-book lending policy. Books are restocked by the Love of Reading reading group. Daily newspaper and magazines are also available. Donations of current books are welcome especially Cookbooks and Gardening books.


SMUN offers many fun recreational activities. Relax, take a break and join in!

  • Bingo
  • Movies
  • Crafts
  • Outings
  • Exercise

See calendar for listings.


  • Develop skills and build your resume
  • Get Involved–Join the team
  • Help keep Start Me Up Niagara running smoothly
  • Community participation and Court ordered service placements available

Sign up with Tony or Kim.