By The 541 Team

To our wonderful community,

Thank you for your patience with us. The staff and community at 541 Eatery & Exchange have experienced major changes in the past year — we opened for dine-in, the community saw more and more folks deprived of housing, staff responded to a steady stream of medical emergencies, we experienced significant turnover due to burnout, and more recently have had an increase in mental health crises in our community. For an organization that started as a restaurant with a pay-it-forward button system, it’s safe to say we’re not resourced properly to offer all the support that our staff and community need and we’re bearing witness to the harm this is causing.

As a daily free food provider to around 150 people, this closure is no doubt seriously impacting the community. We’re saddened that we cannot sustainably respond to the needs arising from major systemic failures and we’re working hard to find ways to make what we CAN offer more sustainable, safe, and rooted in care and are discussing how to best use the resources we have to make that happen again. Thank you to our neighbours and volunteers for the constant love and encouragement, our donors for wanting to share your resources to help us extend care, and the staff that fill this place with their enormous fiery hearts and silliness.

Our reopening date is unclear at this time. We are working with our Board of Directors to make the right decisions for the health of our staff and for our community.