On the evening of Thursday, Nov. 22, the Local Community Food Centre at 612 Erie St. will be opening its doors for its official launch event.
The Local Community Food Centre is an innovative food security project that has been developed as a division of the United Way of Perth-Huron in partnership with Community Food Centres Canada. It is a pilot project that is helping to lead the way towards the creation of a national network of community food centres across the country.
The Local Community Food Centre includes: community gardens and a greenhouse; a community kitchen and dining room where drop-in meals will be served and where educational cooking experiences will be offered; a distribution centre supplying Perth County’s food banks, student nutrition programs, community meal providers and not-for-profits with healthy food; and activism and advocacy programs to empower community members to work together on issues such as poverty and hunger.
The launch event begins at 5:15p.m. with an official ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Dan Mathieson, which will be followed by some words from the Local Community Food Centre director Steve Stacey, Community Food Centres Canada CEO Nick Saul, and Ryan Erb, executive director of the United Way of Perth-Huron.
A special Thursday community meal will be served at 6 p.m. in the community kitchen and dining room, accompanied by information about the project and its programs and opportunities to tour the newly-renovated centre.
At 7 p.m., a town hall discussion will ensue to culminate the Do The Math Challenge, a provincial anti-hunger/anti-poverty initiative spearheaded here by the Local Community Food Centre. Starting on November 19, challenge participants will experience conditions similar to those living on Social Assistance or accessing food banks. The challenge is to eat for $5/day for three days or to live off of a purchased food bank hamper from the House of Blessing.
The purpose of the challenge and the subsequent discussion is to raise awareness about the inadequacy of social assistance rates, to give participants a new perspective on poverty and health, and to build support for a transparent process of setting social assistance rates that is relative to increases in the cost of living.
Although November 22 marks the official launch event, the weekly community drop-in dinner will be offered at the Local Community Food Centre every Monday at 5:15 p.m. beginning November 5. All are welcome.