This spring, Eva’s is remixing our traditional recipe for our annual Taste Matters event. Instead, we are celebrating the launch of the Eva’s Eats cookbook, a collaborative project created by our food service coordinators and the young people staying at our sites. This cookbook aims to assist them as they transition to independent living.

Eva’s Eats pays tribute to the legacy of our founder, Eva Smith, a Jamaican-Canadian activist who recognized the significance of food as a link to culture and a vital foundation for youth experiencing homelessness. Youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness often have complex journeys, and access to culturally appropriate food can begin a path toward finding or reconnecting with their cultural identities and communities.

The cookbook features recipes shared by young people and staff that are important to them, representing their diverse backgrounds and cultures. By immortalizing these recipes in print, we enable young people to celebrate and honour their cultures through food while sharing their traditions with one another and our wider community.

Each recipe has been meticulously tested and modified to ensure they are both easy to make and healthy, utilizing readily available and budget-friendly ingredients. The cookbook includes a variety of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, as well as helpful tips on meal planning, grocery shopping, and kitchen safety.

Eva's food service coordinators, Leanne and Eugene

Leanne and Eugene, Eva’s food service coordinators at Eva’s Phoenix and Eva’s Place

“By creating the Eva’s Eats cookbook, we aim to equip young people with essential skills they need on their journey towards independence,” said Leanne, the food service coordinator at Eva’s Phoenix. “Cooking is a valuable life skill that can help them manage their budget, eat healthier, and foster a sense of belonging and community through food.”

The young people staying at our sites had the opportunity to be actively involved in the process, from submitting recipes and taste-testing dishes to designing the cover illustration and assisting with the production and printing at Eva’s Print Shop. This social enterprise enables young people to develop skills through hands-on training and experiences. Additionally, photography students at Humber College contributed by photographing all the recipes in the cookbook, creating a meaningful collaborative experience with the youth in our community.

“Cooking affordable and satisfying meals is a great way to save money,” said Jan, an Eva’s resident and the illustrator of the Eva’s Eats cookbook cover. “Even after I leave Eva’s and graduate from my program, saving money will still be important to me. Grocery prices are so high, and this cookbook will help me achieve that goal.”

Be a key ingredient in Eva’s recipe for supporting youth transitioning from homelessness to independence. Become a monthly donor and receive a copy of the cookbook, plus your gift will be matched for one year by a generous donor. Learn more here: