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Latest updates 06/17/2019

Walk through the doors of the Mount Paul Community Food Centre in Kamloops and the first thing you notice is the smell of something delicious cooking in the kitchen.

Then, your eyes are drawn to the words painted on the walls of the big, bright dining room – grow, cook, share, advocate – and to the growing group of people who are gathering for Foodie Fridays, a program that brings seniors together to cook a meal, and provides access to coupons that can be redeemed for fresh produce at farmers’ market.

“I’ve really come out of my shell,” says Janille, a community member who lives on a low income and who started coming to the centre a few months ago. “I look forward to [coming here] now. We have fun and joke around. I feel safe there. And my health has improved so much. I’m sleeping better, I have more energy. I used to go to the doctor every week, but I haven’t seen him in three weeks! It sounds dramatic but this class and the food has literally changed my life.”

450 kilometres southwest of here…

... a similar scene is unfolding at the Nelson Community Food Centre. Neighbours are gathering for a community dinner in the newly renovated dining room. Earlier in the day, a gaggle of kids were jumping around excitedly as they get ready to plant vegetable seedlings in the gardens.

96% of community members surveyed say The Nelson CFC gives them better access to healthy food. 76% of people say they're eating more fruits and vegetables since they started coming to programs. And 86% of people say they feel like they belong to a community there.“This place has kept my children and I eating healthy. There have been times where this has been all we have.”

“Our team is very happy to have joined the Community Food Centre movement. Over the years, our organization has evolved from a basic food bank into a provider of multiple food programs, each of which is focused on bringing people together to make connections, share, eat, grow, and advocate for good food,” describes Marya Skrypiczajko, director of the Nelson Community Food Centre. “We’re proud to work with CFCC and other CFCs towards a future where everyone in this country has the means, knowledge, and voice to access good food with dignity.”

Joining a growing movement

The Mount Paul and Nelson Community Food Centres join nine existing CFCs in bringing people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food for all. In Kamloops, the community celebrated the newly renovated space at a June 4 open house event that brought together community members, volunteers, donors, community partners, elders, and elected representatives.

Both CFCs were formed through partnerships between local agencies and Community Food Centres Canada, which provides a proven program model, evaluation and other supports, and ongoing core funding. Like all Community Food Centres, they are supporting people who live on low incomes to improve their physical and mental health, become less isolated, and take action on the issues of poverty and food insecurity.

“Too many Canadians across this country worry every day about how they’re going to put food on the table. Poverty and food insecurity have serious impacts on their physical and mental health, on our health-care system, and on the fabric of our society,” said Nick Saul, President and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. Four million Canadians suffer from food insecurity, and struggle to afford the food they need. People who are food insecure suffer disproportionately from diet-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes, mental health issues, and social isolation.

“The Nelson and Mount Paul Community Food Centres are vibrant, welcoming places where people can access healthy food, find friends and support, learn new skills, and take action on the issues that affect their lives. We’re thrilled they’ve joined a growing movement of Community Food Centres across the country.”  

“CFCC has been an incredible source of mentorship and support in helping us establish our program philosophy and approach,” said Dawn Christie, manager of the Mount Paul Community Food Centre. “The Board of Directors of ICS supported the development of the CFC as it aligns with the strategic direction of the organization, and the food security needs of the community. We’re proud to have a Community Food Centre in Kamloops where we can come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food for all.”

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