Good food changes lives and communities.
Our Good Food Centre provides emergency access to food in a community-based
setting while working to improve skills related to healthy eating.
Each year over 6,000 children and 10,000 adults in Hamilton will use emergency food services. The ability to buy enough nutritious food to maintain a healthy diet is one of our most basic needs. Yet it can be interrupted by a number of challenges – job loss, underemployment, low wages, high food costs or unaffordable housing. Further, knowing how to prepare fresh food is a skill that we have to learn over time, which requires access to fresh food.
The Good Food Centre at Mission Services of Hamilton is a place to fight hunger and food insecurity by bringing people together with good food. Each month, we distribute food to 900 families living below the Low Income Cut-off – Canada’s measurement for poverty. Our doors are open five days a week, Monday to Friday. Mothers, fathers, children, seniors – people from all walks of life come to the Good Food Centre to help them maintain a regular, nutritional diet.
“Poverty creates barriers between people,
but sitting down and enjoying a meal can bring any two people together”
In every food hamper we aim to include items from all food groups (vegetables and fruit, whole grains, protein). Each hamper contains a 3- to 4-day supply of food for every person in a household. We also include personal care items like toothpaste, diapers, and razors. These items are expensive for families living on a low-income budget so are often sacrificed to meet housing and shelter needs first.
The name “Good Food Centre” was inspired by the Good Food Principles developed by Community Food Centres Canada. These are a set of principles to guide organizations who fight poverty and food insecurity and help organizations across the country coordinate their efforts and learn from one other. To hold ourselves accountable to these principles, we became a Good Food Organization member in 2015 and, as part of our membership, regularly evaluate how well we are realizing the five Good Food Principles.
Providing access to food is only the start to improving health and restoring dignity to folks who have been marginalized by income inequality. Along with emergency food and supplies, we offer cooking demonstrations, recipe ideas, financial counseling and referrals to other important services in the community.
Government funding only supplies 10% of the cost of running the Good Food Centre. It is people in the community that help to keep our shelves stocked through donations of food and money. Thank you.
Community Kitchen & Youth After-School Meal Program
Our Community Kitchen opened in November 2016 and was built by a generous bequest, an anonymous gift and funding support from City Mission for the next 10 years. Our mission to make food accessible to those living in poverty also means bridging the economic and social divides that exist in our community. The Community Kitchen makes this possible through our youth after-school meal program. This year we served over 5,500 hot meals to youth after school. Children from the WAVE Program and The 196 access our kitchen five days a week for healthy dinners and snacks. We also encourage youth to learn how to prepare healthy food and to even grow their own in our community garden!