An Ottawa soup kitchen has received an outpouring of support after a group of truckers protesting in the city allegedly harassed staff and assaulted a homeless man on Saturday.
Located blocks away from Parliament Hill, the Shepherds of Good Hope shelter found itself in the thick of the protests this weekend.
“The incessant honking and noise from trucks, caused significant anxiety and distress to our staff and shelters residents,” the nonprofit said in a statement on Sunday.
Truckers from the “Freedom Convoy” have been in the Canadian capital since Saturday, protesting recent Covid-19 rules for drivers entering the country by filling the city with cars, rigs and rallies.
The trouble escalated on Saturday afternoon, when some protesters entered and demanded food, according to the shelter.
“Some of them became quite aggressive and were arguing with our staff,” Shepherds of Good Hope spokesperson Caroline Cox told CNN.
Some meals were given out unknowingly or unwillingly by staff, Cox added, which led to more protesters flocking to the soup kitchen and demanding free meals.
The demands for food and “verbal altercations continued for hours over the dinner period,” the shelter said in a statement.
During this commotion, a homeless man who is mentally ill was assaulted by some protesters after he attempted to open a truck door, shelter staff claimed. The group pushed the man up against the truck, according to Cox.
A security guard who attempted to help the man was “threatened and called racial slurs,” the nonprofit said.
The Ottawa Police Service has reached out to the shelter to investigate, as no police report was filed, police told CNN in a written statement.
CNN has been unable to verify that the homeless man was assaulted.
The shelter declined to press charges and said the homeless man, who has not been named, is doing well.
Word soon got out about the incident, and since then, Shepherds of Good Hope has seen around 10,000 individual donations pour in.
“We are quite a small nonprofit, we’re not used to this level of donations,” Cox said. Staff are still tallying up the full amount the shelter has received.
On a daily basis, the soup kitchen serves between 500 and 700 meals to the homeless population.
The flood of donations will also help the nonprofit’s staff. It’s been difficult for some shelter workers to drive in with so many trucks on on the roads, Cox said, so the nonprofit has been providing Uber vouchers and reimbursing staff for taxis.
Shepherds of Good Hope was not alone in reporting poor behavior from protesters this weekend.
Canada’s National War Memorial was allegedly desecrated and police said they saw “multiple cases” of threatening and intimidating behavior toward city workers and law enforcement.
“It’s just not keeping with Canadian values,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told CNN on Monday. “We value the right to protest and strike and speak out but this has gone well beyond that and it’s time for them to move on.”
It all comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that he and two of his three children have tested positive for Covid-19.
Trudeau had sharp words for those behind these reports at a news conference.
“We’re not intimidated by those who hurl abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” Trudeau said. “We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. And we won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism, or dishonor the memory of our veterans.”
CNN’s Paula Newton contributed to this report.