People and programs 05/16/2014

Becoming involved in a hopeful place can change your life. Some of our most powerful attachments are to places that make us feel respected, safe, empowered. That’s why creating positive, dignified spaces that invite people to come together around food is such an important part of our work.

In February, our Community Kitchens partner iögo held an event in The Stop Community Food Centre‘s kitchen that brought together community kitchen participants from Toronto and Dartmouth, NS. One of the participants was Jenn Prager, a mother of three and long-time volunteer at the Dartmouth Family Centre, our partner in Dartmouth. Jenn spent two days at The Stop cooking in the kitchen, volunteering in the food bank, and talking to staff about their work. (Don't worry — she managed to fit in some sightseeing, too!) Jenn got to see first-hand why The Stop is such an important part of its community, and the vital role the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre will play in Dartmouth North. Once back at home, she shared some thoughts about her experience. 

“I believe that things happen in life for a reason. The Dartmouth Family Centre has heard from me more than once that I wouldn't be who I am today, the mom I am today, if it hadn't been for them. And I wouldn't have had this opportunity if not for me being a participant there when my kids were little, and then becoming a volunteer in an attempt to give back for what they've given me.”

As a participant in Dartmouth North CFC's first community kitchens session, Jenn saw how powerful coming together in the kitchen can be. Seeing the program in action at The Stop allowed her to see how the community kitchens integrate into the wider Community Food Centre programming.

“I really enjoyed being a part of the Community Kitchen and helping to prepare the meal. I was thrilled to see the food I was a part of preparing served the next day when I returned to volunteer at The Stop. It was a special experience to sit and share that meal with a lovely young family as well a social work student; it felt like in some ways it had come full circle for me. Though there was lots going on there and lots of people there, it still felt like a very calm and safe place to be.

“I'm really excited for the Community Food Centre to get up and running here and be able to offer programming that will reach more people and allow them the opportunity to build a community, feel more connected, learn and get involved. I've been trying to find the words over the last week that would truly show what it means to me and how appreciative I am, but I haven't been able to. It really was an extraordinary experience that I never thought I'd have!"


Related links

Canadian Living on the power of cooking together