From free food events in Haliburton County to complimentary Christmas dinners in Northumberland County, two initiatives happened over the holidays to ensure people didn’t go hungry.
According to the Central Food Network (CFN), a registered charity that runs two food banks and offers other food-related programs and services in Haliburton County, one in eight households in Canada are considered food insecure. This means about four million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, are struggling daily to feed themselves and their families.
Over the holidays, CFN held free food events in Wilberforce on December 27, 28, and 29 and again on January 2, 3, and 4. The organization offered fresh produce, pastries, and more — mostly donated by Peterborough-area grocery store chains and through Kawartha Food Share — at the Highlands East Food Hub at 2249 Loop Rd.
The free food events were held while CFN’s regular services were closed for two weeks between December 22 and January 8. At each event, volunteers spent three hours distributing surplus food to those in need. Residents did not need to be registered with the food bank to take part and were also encouraged to bring bags and totes to pick up food for their friends and neighbours as well.
“Our mission is to assist our community and partners, share food and heat resources, and create opportunities to help those living in poverty,” CFN states on its website. “When we work together, we can do more to help people. We are constantly working collaboratively and creatively to reach out to food and heat resources and share with others that need it. We are also working tirelessly on new programming to strengthen our community.”
CFN food banks serve people in Highlands East and eastern parts of Dysart, and the charity shares and exchanges food with other food banks and agencies across Haliburton County and Hastings Highlands. The Highlands East Food Hub opened in late 2015 and serves as a regional food hub for the eastern part of Haliburton County. Read more about CFN’s food and heat bank programs in an upcoming kawarthaNOW story.
Meanwhile in Northumberland County, Just Like Granny’s in the Municipality of Brighton, served turkey dinners with all the trimmings on Christmas Day.
Granny’s staff and volunteers gathered for the fifth consecutive year at the Prince Edward Street bakery to package meals for all who needed or wanted a holiday dinner.
“This year our Christmas crew helped us package and give out over 120 meals to people in our community — bringing a total from the past five years to 796 meals,” said Just Like Granny’s owners, Mel and Jeremy Dean, in a social media post.
“It is no easy feat making Christmas dinner for that many people,” the Deans noted. “It takes a lot of time, organization, resources, money, and a few of Santa’s top elves to pull it off. Fortunately for us, no sooner than when we announced what we were doing, our community and friends/family jumped into action. The outpouring of support that we received from the community was nothing short of world-class.”
“We had people stopping us on the street giving us donations, and people dropping off turkeys and hams — people wanting to volunteer their time, money, cars, you name it. We even had a 93-year-old man offer to help peel spuds.”
“It truly was humbling to know that in a world with so much sadness and hate, that there are so many people in our town that are kind, generous, compassionate, caring, and loving. This is an amazing community and we’re proud to be part of it,” the couple shared.