"When you're going through a tough time there is someone there. I live a much richer life emotionally because of the bonds that I’ve made."
A place where seniors can find support
Every week at the Boomer Café drop-in program, seniors come together in a welcoming place to interact, enjoy a meal, build friendships, and access supports and resources to help them navigate issues in their lives.
One-third of seniors in Montreal live alone, and are more likely to experience social isolation as a result. Add to this the fact that many seniors are living on low incomes or dealing with health conditions, and it's clear why The Depot Community Food Centre offers a range of programs that support seniors to engage socially around healthy food.
"There's the sense of community, good food, and a sense of empowerment. It's not a hand out. You have the power to take control of your life and your welfare. You only need a hand up," says one participant.
A community centre built around good food
The Boomer Café is just one of the programs offered at The Depot Community Food Centre. Their food access programs, such as community meals and Good Food Markets, help people living on low incomes access nutritious food. In 2017, more than 25,000 healthy meals were prepared and shared by community members. Their innovative after-school cooking and nutrition program, Boîte à Lunch, runs in 18 schools across Montreal and helps kids and teens build confidence and skills in the kitchen. And out in the gardens, community members of all ages use urban agriculture to increase the community's access to fresh fruits and vegetables while building knowledge, skills, and social connections. 50 per cent of people across all programs report an improvement in their mental health.
An innovative partnership
The Depot is the first Community Food Centre in Quebec.
It came about after the NDG Food Depot, a food bank that has been serving Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood for more than 30 years, began expanding its programs and mandate to offer more health-building food programs in a dignified space.
Thanks to funding and program inspiration from Community Food Centres Canada, and the support of its stakeholders and community, the NDG Food Depot transitioned to being a Community Food Centre in 2018.
The Depot Community Food Centre is located on Somerled Ave in the culturally diverse community of NDG, and serves a large part of Montreal's west end. 40 per cent of the population of NDG identifies as a visible minority. 33 per cent of children in NDG live in a low-income household, compared to 16 per cent in Montreal overall.