Food for thought: Meeting with the Ontario Association of Food Banks

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On Tuesday afternoon we had the pleasure to meet Carolyn Stewart and Erin Fotheringham from the Ontario Association of Food Banks. It was intriguing to find out about the important work they do and the evolving role of food banks in communities across Ontario. It was very interesting to hear that food banks, though sometimes criticized as a “band aid solution”, offer much more than that! Many food banks across the province are becoming centers for social change. Some even have nurse practitioners, resumé building workshops and other practical and vital services on site. The Ontario Association of Food Banks serves around 375 000 Ontarians every month of which 35% are children. If someone is in need of help and finds their way to a food bank, they will always be welcomed. Erin and Carolyn were a wealth of knowledge and were able to discuss with us their partnerships, organizational structure and new initiatives. We were especially interested in Link2Feed, the social enterprise they are teaming up with in order to gain real time data about who is using food banks and why. This increase in knowledge will ensure there is a better understanding of hunger in the province and in turn better solutions will be implemented. We are excited to have the opportunity to visit one of their establishments this year to see what the daily workings really look like!

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