Published on August 19, 2013
Jill Airhart and Matthew Barrett fill some freezer space with delicious local meats and berries, as part of the new Community Food Hub program.
Published on August 19, 2013
Contributing partners in the Community Food Hub’s new food-sharing program started stockpiling their freezer today, located at the North Star Building on Hamilton River Road. The program starts on Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. Partners include, from left: Matthew Barrett, Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association (LHFA); Kerry Saner-Harvey, Mennonite Central Committee; Jackie Mills, Grand River Family Resource Centre; Jill Airhart, Food Security Coordinator for the Community Food Hub; Hollis Yetman, LHFA; and Tony Chubbs, LHFA.
Single parent families to benefit from food-sharing program
It was a gap in the system that needed to be addressed.
That's according to Jill Airhart, Food Security Coordinator for the Community Food Hub.
"There are programs out there for seniors, for example, to avail of traditional foods, but there was nothing there for single-parent families," explained Airhart.
"This was a gap discovered four years ago, after a community food assessment study was undertaken in the community."
That will all change, she said, with the addition of a new program to be run by several contributing partners, including the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the Grand River Family Resource Centre (GRFRC), the Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association (LHFA) and the Community Food Hub.
Beginning on August 23 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., any single parent in Happy Valley-Goose Bay can drop by the GRFRC located in the North Star Building at 114 Hamilton River Road, to obtain two items of local food to use for a meal.
"The foods we are providing include traditional meats such as small game (partridge, ducks, etc), fish and berries," said Airhart. "Studies have shown that single parent households will often buy more processed foods, as opposed to fresh food, as they are generally cheaper. This can lead to high rates of obesity and diabetes.
"With this Community Food Hub, we are hoping to get more local, nutritious foods to families that might otherwise not be able to access it."
Airhart noted the service is completely free to the parent, and they can access the service once a week.
The program will run entirely on donations from the community.
"Anyone wanting to contribute meats, fish, or berries, can contact me to arrange a drop off time," said Airhart. "The one thing we would like to stress is that donations be as fresh as possible; we can't accept anything freezer-burnt from last year, for example."
The MCC provided the freezer for the program, which Kerry Saner-Harvey, Regional representative for the MCC in Newfoundland and Labrador, said they were only too happy to provide.
"We support this program financially, but also in other ways," he said. "We are excited to see this happen, as there is definitely a need for this in the community."
Matthew Barrett is a member of the LHFA and helped fill up the freezer for the upcoming program.
"Our organization helped collect up items and I plan on contributing to the program, as I hunt and fish myself," said Barrett.
Airhart also noted that while it may appear as if the community as a whole is prosperous with regards to employment and high wages, it is not the case at all.
"A study was done a few years ago locally, that showed almost 50 % of the town's population was living at - or below - the poverty level," said Airhart.
"There is a huge gap between the high income-earners and the low-income families in the community."
The Community Food Hub runs many other programs and services in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area.
They were instrumental in establishing the popular Saturday Outdoor Community Markets and started a Children's Community Garden next to Husky Park with cooperation from the Labrador School Board and the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
"We also started a second community garden in a low-income neighbourhood, with the produce being provided to those in subsidized housing at no cost as well."
The Community Food Hub has also been running successful 'community kitchens.'
"This program brings people from low-income households together once a month, to learn how to prepare a nutritious meal, which they then get to take home with them," said Airhart.
For more information on the Community Food Hub's programs, please call 896-4253.