St. Stephen – What do you do when you have a freezer full of food, along with a large food budget, but have no one to feed? You partner up with a local food bank and find people to feed. That is exactly what is happening right now with the Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte County (B&G Club) and the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County Inc. Food Bank.
“What we’ve done is formed a virtual partnership with the Boys & Girls Club youth centre,” said Food Bank Coordinator Donna Linton. “They’ve got the skills and the techniques, and they produce suppers every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The volunteer centre’s role is to find recipients for those suppers. We have our delivery volunteer pick them up and deliver them.”
Linton said every day meals are being delivered, she goes through her list of families and picks out two she thinks would like to have a meal taken to them. She said she reaches out to them and asks if they would like to have supper brought to their homes so they don’t have to cook on that day. The goal is to be able to put families on a monthly rotation, so every month each of the families on the list will receive a meal that has already been prepared for them.
“So far it’s been 100 per cent yes,” said Linton. “It just started last week. They’ll do two meals each day. I’m going to try and get them on a monthly rotation. So far, we’ve had lasagna, macaroni, and chili. We never know what it’s going to be.”
Linton said when choosing the families that will receive meals, she is looking for those who may be somewhat food insecure. They may not have all of the necessary ingredients for a big meal, and this is a great way for them to be able to enjoy a home-cooked meal without having to spend a lot of money or do a lot of work to prepare it.
“We find a bigger family and often a smaller family. Today it’s two adults and two children, and two adults and one child.”
Samantha Jeffreys, youth services supervisor at the B&G Club said they came up with this idea because there are no kids going to the club at the moment, but they still have funding in place for meals. So, instead of wasting that money, they are using it to help feed members of the community.
“Where the kids aren’t showing up, how are we going to benefit the community with this money,” Jeffreys asked. “We decided to partner with Donna during Orange Phase. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I cook the meals, and she lets me now how many families we have, and if she’s able to pick up or if she wants me to deliver. Then, I make the meals and drop them off for her.”
Jeffreys is doing all of the cooking herself, and she is making some pretty delicious meals for Linton to have delivered to Food Bank clients. Last week, families enjoyed chili and pasta and chicken casserole. On Friday, she cooked up chicken fried rice and combined that with frozen eggrolls. During the Red Phase, they were not allowed to cook meals for the kids, so they had purchased a lot of frozen foods. With no kids coming to the youth centre, this is a great way to keep that food from going to waste.
“We bought a lot of frozen things, so we’ll be able to give Donna’s families food,” said Jeffreys. “I cook it at the club. It’s a pretty big kitchen. I really enjoy cooking in it. It’s really nice. I love it.”
Jeffreys said if the province does have to go back into the Red Phase, she will continue to find ways to help Linton feed these families. She said she will use the club’s food budget to purchase large, club size or family size frozen dinners. She will discuss with Linton the number of families that require these meals, and she will make sure they get them. If we go back into the Yellow or Green Phase, the program isn’t going to come to an end.
“After Orange Phase, me and Donna will probably discuss another system that we can do. Maybe not as often where we’re feeding children at the youth centre, but we’ll definitely have another plan in place once Yellow comes.”