During a recent Friday afternoon meeting, three provincial cabinet ministers, including Health Minister Danielle McCann, Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant and Senior’s minister Marguerite Blais, spent some time at the NDG Community Food Centre’s office where they presented CFC managers with a prize and a $15 000 check.
“It was such an honor to have the government recognize what we’re doing here,” said Bonnie Soutar. As a veteran food bank manager with experience that goes back to the early days when the Community Food Centre used to be known as the NDG Food Depot, Soutar admits the original Depot has come a long way since its early days in the old garage on the corner of Oxford and the De Maisonneuve Boulevard.
“What’s remarkable is that the government recognizes the impact the Food Centre is having on the community’s health,” she said.
The award recognizes the Food Centre for its ‘...outstanding and innovative” food policies, Soutar told The Suburban that its emphasis upon healthy food and good nutrition “...has already showed us where we want to go and what we’ve got to do for our community.”
Aside from its food bank, the Food Centre also runs a popular café where local residents can come share a good lunch where they can socialize and participate in assorted community activities that help break the social isolation that’s become a serious health issue for the city’s seniors. As of this year, the Food Centre offers up over 20 different programs that include everything from backyard gardening classes to mobile food markets. As a direct result of many surveys that indicated how the major obstacle to a healthy diet was the high cost of fresh food and vegetables, the Food Centre began to focus on both quality and nutrition as opposed to the massive quantities of food that used to be a measure of a food bank’s success. As clients are both healthier and happier because of what the Food Centre’s doing for the community, Soutar believes that “...we must be doing something right.”