Training 02/19/2020 Online

Join us for A participatory learning intensive

In CFCC’s food bank manual, Beyond the Emergency: How to evolve your food bank into a force for change, we make the case that food banks can and are well-positioned to work toward a broader mandate that is focused on health, dignity, and empowerment.

The comprehensive document provides practical tools and examples that food banks can use to imagine change, inspire staff and volunteers, and create sites for community development. 

Using the manual as a guide, we are offering an online short course in four parts to delve deeper into the nuts and bolts of how such a change can happen.

The interactive series will draw on the diverse experiences of participants as well CFCC’s extensive work supporting food access, food skills, and community engagement programming that challenges conventions of the charitable model. 

Event Details

Session 1: February 19, 2020 | 1:00-2:30pm EST
Laying the groundwork for change

Session 2: February 26, 2020 | 1:00-2:30pm EST
Implementing a new mindset: How respectful and efficient food bank operations lead to dignified service and healthier food 

Session 3: March 4, 2020 | 1:00-2:30pm EST
Collecting the information that you really need while reducing stigma

Session 4: March 11, 2020 | 1:00-2:30pm EST
Communicating a new approach

Participants will be asked to complete readings from the aforementioned manual or relevant resources before each session. On occasion there will be some homework that will help participants engage with the material as well as start the process towards making steps in your food bank’s innovation. 

As a participant, you’ll get:
  • A suite of learning resources, articles, and tools to inspire and implement change at your food bank

  • Tools to evaluate change at your food bank over time

  • Up to 1 hour of one-on-one consultation over the phone with series facilitator and CFCC Program Manager, Rekha Cherian (before and/or after the course)

  • Access to a group email list to continue the conversation among participants between sessions and after the course.

About the facilitators

Rekha Cherian joined Community Food Centres Canada in 2017 as a Program Manager. Most recently, she managed the food bank and drop-in at The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto where she oversaw the development and implementation of food bank policies and procedures to reduce stigma, offer healthier food, and provide respectful service. She served on The Daily Bread Food Bank’s Agency council for six years representing Toronto’s west end area food banks and has provided consultation to many food banks over the past 7 years. Holding a Masters of Social Work from Dalhousie University and having worked in the social service field for the past 17 years, Rekha brings a strong social justice lens to her work, and believes food banks can use such a lens to develop service delivery into a dignified experience that builds health and community connection. 

Meredith Hayes is the Knowledge Exchange Senior Manager at CFCC. As a trainer and educator, Meredith supports CFCC’s national learning network with workshops, webinars, resources, and annual gatherings. Meredith recently joined Community Food Centres Canada after 13 years at FoodShare Toronto overseeing youth education and student nutrition programs to working in evaluation, fundraising, communications, and policy roles. Meredith has a passion for collaboration and has served on the Board of Directors of Sustain Ontario, and as a founding steering committee member of the Ontario Edible Education Network, Imagine a Garden in Every School Campaign, and a number of national advocacy efforts. Meredith is driven by a commitment to see the Right to Food realized, and inspired by the efforts of so many in our sector working to make that happen.

Application process

To keep the course interactive and feature participant voices as much as possible, we are only able to accept 25 organizations. We ask that all prospective participants fill out a short application to help us understand your work and how you will benefit from the course.

Criteria for participation

Organizations that meet all of the following criteria are invited to submit an application. Applicants must...
  • be an organization that runs a community food bank or food pantry* (see note below about regional food banks)

  • demonstrate enthusiasm or readiness for organizational change within the next six months

  • have reviewed the food bank manual which will introduce you to CFCC’s Good Food Principles and help you determine if this series is a good fit for your organization

*Note that to keep the content of our training focused and relevant to the audience, regional food banks or those whose primary work is food redistribution do not qualify for this series.

Course expectations

  • In-course: attend and participate in at least three of the four sessions; complete pre-reading / video watching; participate in two check-in phone calls with program facilitator (at intake and again mid-way or after course). 

  • Project implementation: implement two or more of the desired training outcomes within 6 months of completing the course.

  • Evaluation: complete a follow-up evaluation immediately after the course (March 2018) and again in September 2018 to report on progress made since the course.


Target outcomes

  1. Start or scale up internal staff / board conversations about an organizational shift that aligns more closely with the Good Food Principles

  2. Conduct a food bank inventory to identify healthy and unhealthy foods offered in your food bank

  3. Create or enhance an organizational healthy food policy

  4. Create or enhance an organizational respect policy

  5. Reduce or eliminate means testing as part of a client intake process

  6. Offer service-users more choice in food 

  7. Alter your space in some way to make it more welcoming and dignified

  8. Develop public-facing and/or donor communications to reflect an organizational shift toward healthier food, more dignified service, and/or the root causes of hunger

Apply to participate in the intensive HERE.

Download the course syllabus.

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