News and announcements
This International Day of Friendship, we’re thinking about the huge influence friendships have on our lives. There for us in bad times - and among the first to celebrate the good - friends help reduce stress and increase our sense of belonging. They also strengthen our health. A growing body of evidence shows that friendships contribute to better cardiovascular and mental health, and can also lead to a longer life.
But what if you’re cut off from your community? Millions are. In fact, a recent Angus Reid study shows that close to 25 per cent of Canadians experience extreme social isolation and loneliness. People living on low incomes are some of the most vulnerable, and are six times more likely to be isolated than higher income earners.
Recognizing this as an everyday reality for millions is important because not having enough money means it’s a lot harder for people to create and maintain social support, participate in social activities, access transportation, and many other things. And not surprisingly, it also means it’s a lot harder to stay in good health. Evidence shows that social isolation has health risks comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, heavy drinking, or a lack of exercise.
To mark this International Day of Friendship, we’re asking you to support the role Community Food Centres play in reducing social isolation, particularly in low income communities.
For Keely in Calgary, her first visit to the Alex Community Food Centre sparked the beginning of a major change in her life. On social assistance, and challenged by serious health and financial issues, her doctor suggested she visit The Alex’s drop-in breakfast and low-cost produce market.
“I was hooked right away,” she explains. “I started going more and more. The centre is very wheelchair accessible. And the meals are gourmet. It made me realize food can be healthy and tasty at the same time.”
At Community Food Centres across the country, lasting friendships are forged over food. People struggling with isolation find friends they can count on, and a place to belong and contribute.
Since coming to The Alex, Keely’s health has improved. Plus, the food she enjoys at community meals - or picks up to take home - helps her manage her limited budget. She’s also made new friends and continues to inspire many other community members as a volunteer.
In honour of strong friendships, make a donation in support of vibrant spaces and programs that bring people together around good food.
92% of our community members say they feel like they belong to a community at their centre. 76% have made new friends they can count on. Make a donation today and bring life-changing support to more Canadians.