OFW in Canada pays it forward, provides free meals to the less fortunate in Fort Saskatchewan

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fort saskatchewan
Ken and Kelsey Dalida at the Fort Saskatchewan Legion in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. Via @ArthurGreen

Just like every other Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), Ken Dalida was focused on chasing the Canadian dream. In a report by Arthur Green posted on sherwoodparknews.com, the OFW talked about the challenges he faced while working in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.




GROWING FILIPINO COMMUNITY IN FORT SASKATCHWAN

Dalida came to Canada as an OFW in 2009, working at a Tim Hortons in Fort Saskatchewan, more than 300kms north of Calgary, Alberta. Fort Saskatchewan has a population of 24,149.

In 1991, Fort Saskatchewan only had 30 Filipinos. Today, the province of Alberta is home to more than 175,130 Filipinos, the second largest population outside of Ontario.



LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP

He met his wife Kelsey, who also worked at the Canadian fastfood restaurant.

It wasn’t easy for Dalida, who was sent back to the Philippines after the Government of Canada made changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Dalida and his wife had their first child in 2014, and he went back home to the Philippines four months after she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

It was a challenging time for Dalida and his family as his application for Permanent Residency was being processed by the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines.

Leaving his wife and infant child was probably one of the most difficult things he has ever had to do, Dalida told Green.



TWO YEARS TO PROCESS PR APPLICATION

It took two years for his paperwork to push through, and he ended up working at a restaurant called Mis en Place in the Cayman Islands.

Dalida didn’t have a culinary background, but his experience working with talented chefs at Mis en Place inspired him to embark on a new career path.



GOING BACK TO FORT SASKATCHEWAN

Dalida returned to Canada as a Permanent Resident in 2016, just as his daughter was celebrating her third birthday. It was a gift to have been able to return to Canada, he told Green, and to have been able to celebrate her birthday for the very first time.

For his daughter’s birthday, Dalida put his experience working in the Cayman Islands to work, preparing food for friends and family.

It was the feedback he received for the food her prepared that gave him the idea of putting up his own business.



STARTING HIS OWN BUSINESS

In 2017, a year after he returned to Canada, Dalida started Ken’s Catering.

Dalida told Green about the overwhelming response the local community, how they started by catering for small family gatherings and moving up to weddings and funerals.

In 2019, Dalida was contacted by the Fort Saskatchewan Legion, who offered kitchen space and the opportunity to cater for their Friday night buffets.

It was a big hit with the community.




PAY IT FORWARD, FREE MEALS FOR LESS FORTUNATE

Dalida started a pay it forward program with their buffets at the Legion, where they accepted $20 donations for a buffet voucher. The donations went towards providing free dinners for the less fortunate members of their Fort Saskatchewan community.

Dalida said that he felt very blessed to have been able to come back to Canada to join his family, and that his program was just his way of giving back to the community.

Dalida still can’t believe he’s back in Canada, let alone enjoying all the success he has had with his catering business. He told sherwoodparknews.com that he can’t wait to see what the future holds for him and his family.




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