Vital People: A kitchen for the community

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen will be able to meet the increased need for food-security programming thanks to funding by the Victoria Foundation for a sustainability project.

The kitchen, run by the Shelbourne Community Kitchen Society, is a community resource for individuals and families living on a low income, who have difficulty accessing sufficient nutritious food on a consistent basis.

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They currently offer small-group cooking, pantry and gardening programs to give participants food skills and the education on how to access nutritious food affordably.

The sustainability project will allow the Society to develop and implement a three-point sustainability plan.

“The funding from the Victoria Foundation is vital to our continued success,” said Laura Cochrane, board chair of the society.

“The funds will allow us to develop a fundraising plan, enhance volunteer recruitment and training and help more individuals and families achieve food security.”

The currently offers kitchen programs, where low-income clients can access fresh, healthy food; garden programs, where people learn how to grow their own food; and a pantry, a food support for people in need in the community.

The sustainability program will expand access to nutritious, affordable food and provide food skills training to more clients. It will also seek to raise awareness of the program to clients who currently only use the pantry.

“The program also sets out to help people build social supports within the community,” said Cochrane.

“It allows people to get together to make connections, help each other, learn together and develop the food skills for better health.”

The plan, which is underway and runs until November, includes the development of a client-centred evaluation framework and a needs-assessment tool.

“We need to find and provide the types of programs people want.”

The project will also enhance and expand the society’s volunteer-management system, which currently sees up to 165 volunteers working at various roles in the organization.

People can help those less fortunate in the community by volunteering their time or donating dried, non-perishable goods, personal-hygiene items or a cash donation.

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