The LINK Food Centre has received another grant to provide emergency food relief in the community.
The centre received a $10,000 grant through Government of Canada and the Community Food Centre Canada’s essential funding.
“We will be using it for a little bit of overhead cost but mostly it is for buying produce and we are buying gift cards that we will give to families going back to school,” said Candice Little, the food centre manager.
In April, the centre had received a $40,000 grant through Community Food Centres Canada and this latest amount comes in addition to the previous grant.
LINK Food Centre has also been distributing food packs for kids under the Food Bank Canada’s “After the Bell” program.
“It’s going really well. Actually we are in the process of putting together insulated lunch kits that we are filling with non-perishables that we are going to give to all the families with children, the week before and during the first week of school being back. So we are really excited to be able to do that,” said Little adding that the centre would continue to distribute food to kids as long as they have it available.
The food bank is also making use of the LINK garden to include fresh produce in their regular hampers for families and individuals.
“We are using the harvest and it is going out to families during each distribution. It has been really fun to give little boxes of strawberries and now things like cucumber and zucchini are coming. So yes, definitely they all go out,” said Little. On the days that they have a smaller harvest, the food bank is putting it out outside in boxes or baskets and the people coming to pick up their hampers are able to pick up a little produce from there.
The LINK Food Centre has however been off for a week starting Aug.24 to Aug. 28. They will be restarting their distribution from Sept. 1.
“We usually shut down for two weeks in the year at some point, just to give everybody a break and it was such an intense spring and we don’t know what the potential looks like in the fall for us, so we just decided we would close down for a week and give all the staff a much-deserved break before we head in to the fall,” said Little. The mobile food centre will also be non-operational during this period.
Once the centre opens back up, they have no plans to go back to their regular shopping method.
“We don’t plan to go back to it until, probably until there is a vaccine but for sure through the winter we will be continuing with the hamper model,” she said, “We found that clients are really liking it. We did a survey of our clients and we were able to determine that they are quite happy with how things are going and so we are going to continue that and try to do some innovative things, maybe get back to doing some meal preparation and maybe distributing soup that is maybe cooked and ready-to-eat but I don’t know that for sure yet.”