The sweeping changes to the labour market in Canada over the past 20 years is sparking an unprecedented use of food banks. Heather Kirby, general manager of Kawartha Lakes Food Source says, “The road to the door of a food bank is as different as there are stars in the sky. Housing, child care and transportation are expenses that must be a priority which moves food to the bottom of the list. These choices are nearly impossible to make.”
Valerie Brunst may have passed away last year at the age of 77, but her gift to her church is ensuring her legacy will go on this Christmas — through Valerie’s Blessing.
Pastor Joel Holtz of Calvary Pentecostal Church in Lindsay says Brunst left her entire estate to the church — and now the church wants to find a way to “share some of this blessing with the community at large,” he says.
Brunst cut an eccentric figure, often seen on Hwy 36 about seven kilometres north of Lindsay in front of her house, hitchhiking for a ride into town.
If it takes a village to raise a child, a town can also come together to help feed kids through the summer months. This is what is happening in Lindsay since summer 2018, where an innovative Summer Outreach Lunch Program is providing healthy bagged lunches to children.
Poverty costs Ontario somewhere between $27.1 – $33 billion each year. Feed Ontario’s most recent report, The Cost of Poverty in Ontario, offers an explanation as to why and how “poverty reduction is not only possible – it pays off.”
While governments estimate the cost of poverty by calculating dollars spent on programs and services for the poor, this report locates the cost of poverty in the increased health and justice system expenses incurred, and loss of tax revenue and by maintaining people in a state of poverty. Those living on low income experience poorer health for a host of reasons, including inadequate housing, less access to medicine, and less access to quality food. The result? An estimated cost of $3.9 billion to our health care system.
For some children, summer is not a fun time. Many elementary aged children rely daily on their school’s Student Nutrition Program for a snack or meal throughout the school year. In the summer, schools are closed for vacation.
To help those children who sometimes need a little bit more, The Salvation Army Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition, Kawartha Lakes Food Source, and the HKPR District Health Unit partnered together to make nutritious lunches for those who relied on school’s Student Nutrition Programs. The Summer Outreach Lunch Program prepares and distributes lunches two days a week in July and August.
Kawartha Lakes Food Source is calling for several changes to the Province’s social assistance reforms — including retaining the current definition of ‘disability’ in Ontario.
In April 2019, Feed Ontario released a report forecasting the impact of the Government of Ontario’s proposed reforms to social assistance and put forth three key recommendations for change — recommendations Food Source is in full agreement with, as outlined in a recent press release.
A new initiative in Lindsay will address the avoidable crisis of food waste at the local level, with a dual mission of hunger relief and environmental protection.
“The Kawartha Lakes Food Source recognizes that we need to change the way food is valued throughout production, processing, distribution, retail, and at home,” says Heather Kirby, general manager of Kawartha Lakes Food Source.
“Food waste accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the industry’s environmental footprint, and most of it is completely avoidable.”
Nearly 300 additional people reached out to Kawartha Lakes Food Source for help in the past month, just as the PC government’s premature cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot had taken effect.
According to General Manager Heather Kirby, of Kawartha Lakes Food Source, there were 1,164 people seeking help this past month across Kawartha Lakes, including Lindsay – a rise of 267 new people. Of note is that 404 are children.
“I’ve seen a 100-plus jump in the past,” says Kirby, “but never this many people all of a sudden.”
The Food Security Working Group, a committee of the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition, will be offering the Summer Outreach Lunch Program for children again this year. The Salvation Army, Kawartha Lakes Food Source and the HKPR District Health Unit, as part of the committee, are partnering on this project.
Thanks to funding from the Luke Four Foundation, Kawartha Lakes Food Source (KFLS) is able to pilot a Family Cooking Project in Kirkfield.
The Family Cooking Project has 10 families from Lady Mackenzie Public School in Kirkfield cooking and learning together. Families are provided with three recipes a week along with the accompanying non-perishable and fresh ingredients that they need that week. The recipes include a dinner, light lunch and a snack or dessert.