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Using Food to Build New Skills

How your gifts help feed and teach people like Bill how to cook healthy food

Bill learning to bake squash in FoodFit.

Your support means that folks like Bill who live on a low income can eat healthy food and learn new skills to improve their well-being.

Bill still feels lucky that he saw a pamphlet about Mission Services’ newest program, FoodFit, when he was picking up a food hamper at the Mission’s Good Food Centre on Wentworth Street North. Bill had never taken a cooking class before. The pamphlet explained that the class taught participants how to make great-tasting, healthy meals at home and was designed for cooking on a tight budget—something that Bill was also looking for.

Bill is a hard worker. He has a full-time job as a security officer and often works nights at locations all over Toronto and commutes by public transit. His job requires him to be flexible, but it pays a modest wage. Rising heat, hydro, and food costs also make it difficult living on a low income. At the Mission’s Good Food Centre, however, folks like Bill can get a three-to-four day supply of groceries.

After taking FoodFit, Bill enrolled in computer literacy course run by the Hamilton Literacy Council at Mission Services to improve his employable skills.

Sometimes, Bill would take vegetables in his hamper that he wasn’t quite sure how to use. When he saw the pamphlet for FoodFit, he decided to spice things up and see if he could learn some new cooking skills.

As Bill can tell you, he learned many things in FoodFit: how legumes and black beans are tasty yet low in sugar; how to bake a casserole from scratch; and how to be thrifty by buying fruits and vegetables in season.

But the most important thing Bill learned was how much he enjoyed socializing and feeling connected to this community. “FoodFit was a nice place to meet and talk to people,” he explains. “That can be difficult to do when you live on your own and spend so much of your time commuting.”

Inspired by his positive experience with FoodFit, Bill is now taking a computer course at Mission Services run by the Hamilton Literacy Council to work on upgrading his skills. “I haven’t used computers very often,” says Bill, “but I know these skills will help me to continue working.”