Running out of food before that next paycheque. Having to purchase unhealthy processed foods because you can’t afford anything else. Skipping meals to save a bit of money.
This is what food insecurity looks like in our community.
“We often take this basic need for granted, but food security is unfortunately something that thousands of people in Kamloops do not have. This partnership, between United Way & New Gold – New Afton Mine is a step towards changing that,” say Korah Dewalt-Gagnon, New Gold Community Specialist.
“It’s more of a hand up than a hand out, so you would come to the centre to learn how to cook, how to grow,” said Dawn Christie, the Community Resources Manager for Interior Community Services (ICS).
In addition to programs like Meals on Wheels, Food Fit, and Community Kitchens programming through ICS, the Food Centre will also act as a home base for the Food Policy Council’s Gleaning Abundance Program.
“What has become very apparent over the 2016 season is that in order for the gleaning program to grow and thrive, we need a distribution center with adequate storage as well as a way to increase in our capacity to make use of the gleaned produce. There is often more produce available than we can use at any given time. Improved storage facilities would allow us to make better use of what we have,” says Sandra Frangiadakis, Kamloops Food Policy Council Food Action Coordinator.
A $30,000 investment from New Gold will be put to work in the Mount Paul Food Center, upgrading refrigeration systems and expanding the kitchen to incorporate an area for training and additional pantries. Housed in a building previously occupied by Mount Paul United Church, this investment will go a long way in giving the 60 year old building a much-needed face lift and to creating a practical space to run vital programming in our community.
The causes of food insecurity are undoubtedly complex, but one cross-cutting factor cannot be denied — poverty. By investing in the Mount Paul Food Center, New Gold has committed to stemming the cycle of poverty through programming designed to build capacity and ultimately create better lives for a stronger, more resilient community.
This forward-thinking project will move far beyond a traditional donation by creating opportunities to provide a hand-up instead of a hand-out through a comprehensive network of agencies and programs supported by United Way.