Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holiday celebrations. In my family, it was the time of year that we focused on what we are grateful for, and sharing good food with family and friends. Big family dinners are not always the idyllic meals that we might conjure, but I hope that you had time to share a meal with your loved ones this past weekend.
As the leaves start to fall, one really takes notice of the remarkable beauty of Saanich. It’s not only this place, but also the people who make it a caring and inclusive place to live.
I want to tell you about a group that really embodies this, and that I am especially thankful for, the Shelbourne Community Kitchen Society. Their little house, located at 3541 Shelbourne St., is a welcoming place where people who are dealing with the challenge of putting enough food on the table, can come and find healthy food and opportunities.
Some of what they do is to prepare and share nutritious meals, while people learn to prep and cook. The Youth Food Action Team went there for a visit not long ago and had a great time making a meal together; there was a lot of laughing, and even some cooking going on.
There is also a vegetable garden that helps supply the kitchen and the food pantry. The place goes far beyond providing groceries, by creating a sense of belonging and community. Board chair Laura Cochrane says that their goal is “to provide a place where people can build community around food and work together towards food security for themselves and others.”
Last month, the Saanich News featured a story highlighting the growing reach of the society, and their need for more food. They ran a September Food Drive. I talked to Kim Cummins, the program co-ordinator, to ask her how it went.
“It was amazing” she told me, “we had a big response.” They want to express how moved they were by the community support. So, thank you Saanich.
As we head in to fall there will be canning and preserving going on as well as the need to get the garden ready for the winter. If anyone has any canning jars in their basement or leaves they could bring by, they will be put to good use.
Currently there are over 50,000 people in our region who deal with the stress and challenge of putting enough on the table to eat. Did you know that Shelbourne Community Kitchen is just one of over 40 agencies who are part of the FoodShare Network working together to decrease this food insecurity in our community?
I look forward to bringing you a story about the innovative Food Rescue project that the FoodShare Network will launch with their partners this fall. This project has the potential to make huge changes in the food and health landscape of our region.
Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.