The Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank will be a stakeholder in Healthy Kimberley’s Food Recovery Program (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin file).

Kimberley Food Recovery Depot hopes to apply for UBCM grant funding to offer more programs

The depot seeks the City’s support in the application, in hopes of being able to prepare ready-made meals.

Healthy Kimberley’s Food Recovery Depot is asking for help from the City of Kimberley with a grant application to the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).

At a regular Council meeting on Monday, Shannon Grey Duncan, Food Recovery Depot Coordinator, presented to Council and thanked them for their support thus far.

Duncan says that since the inception of the Food Recovery Depot in November of 2018, over 41,000 pounds of food has been recovered with the majority of it going to people in the community.

READ MORE: Kimberley Food Recovery Depot reports excellent progress

She adds that the depot has been successful in building relationships with various programs in the community such as the Food Bank and the school programs, however Healthy Kimberley feels that they could do more to help those in need.

“In this proposed project, we would like to expand our scope and further address food security needs in our community by providing healthy, ready-made meals for vulnerable community members along with the opportunity for food skill building,” said Duncan.

She says their goal is to adapt recipes from elders in the community and connect their mentorship with youth and adult volunteers by preparing big batch meals to be frozen and given to primarily Food Bank clients.

“Our goal is to establish a regular monthly or bi-monthly session (funding-dependant) to maintain supply and offer a non-stigmatized opportunity for anyone to join in the food preparation and build food skills through participation,” Duncan explained.

She says that their first priority would be more vulnerable members of the community.

“The Food Bank has expressed to us that there is a need for more healthy, ready-made meals,” said Duncan. “Some people may not have the time, money or food skills to do so. We can partner with current groups and do big batch soup preparation, for example. It has been often expressed by [Food Bank] clients that canned beans, or pasta, go unused due to a lack of available food skills and knowledge. We can adapt recipes from community members to include these items in prepared food and make them into more accessible meals.”

READ MORE: New Coordinator for Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery project

The deadline for the UBCM program is quickly approaching on February 28th, and Council says they would like to support the idea but there’s a lot of work to do in the meantime.

Council directed City staff to work with Duncan on her proposal and a decision will come before Council at their next meeting on the 24th of February.

“I hugely appreciate this initiative and all of the work Healthy Kimberley does. It’s a great success story,” said Councillor Darryl Oakley, before asking which kitchen Healthy Kimberley hopes to use for meal preparation.

Duncan responded saying that they would love to use Centennial Hall because the space is perfect for their purpose.

“There are other options that we can explore, such as a Girl Guide’s kitchen, but it’s out in Wycliffe, and the Elks has been very supportive, but they already have a lot going on. There aren’t many options for a community kitchen in town, which is also on our radar for future plans,” said Duncan.

Councillor Nigel Kitto echoed Oakley’s sentiment regarding the success of the Food Recovery Depot to date, and also said it would be worth looking into ways of removing transportation barriers, especially for those who have mobility issues.

Duncan explained that the Food Recovery Depot is still in their early stages, and they hope to continue to grow and offer different programs for different people.

“We are in the unique position to bring people together from a variety of demographics,” said Duncan. “It’s about bringing people together and eating together. This non-stigmatized access to food opens up a range of possibilities for people to connect and learn together.”

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