Tags will define what food is best
By Matthew Strader, Enterprise Staff
Food donations are key to almost every poverty reduction strategy. But what is also key is getting the right food. Caledon Community Services’ food support program operated a week this summer in which a number of notable community members participated in the food box (or food bank) program in an effort to raise awareness about poverty in Caledon.
During a brainstorming session after the week was completed, the participants gathered to share ideas on what the poverty reduction staff could do within the community to help educate further. “It became clear that one thing all of our participants noticed was the lack of nutrition a food box participant receives,” said Kim D’Eri, manager of poverty reduction for CCS. “A lot of times, because of the pasta, the canned beans and sauces that are popular donation items, there might be enough food to sustain someone for a week, but it may not be the best food for them. We’re hoping that helping people to identify the best things to donate, will help us to stock more nutritious food for our clients.â€
The food box program operates much like a food bank. The staff at CCS collect and organize donations into food boxes (1 lb of pasta, two cans of sauce, beans, canned meats and vegetables, etc.) to give out to their clients. However, they find the shelves of their cupboards are getting a lot of repeats, and quite often items of need like baby food and canned or jarred fruits and vegetables can be in short supply.
“We appreciate and are thankful for every donation, absolutely” said CCS’ Executive Director Monty Laskin “But ask any parent who has tried to make a five year old eat plain chick peas, sometimes, it’s just not happening.” As a result of that brainstorming session, the idea of food tags was born. Specially designed Caledon Community Services tags will now be used by three major grocery retailers in Bolton – Zehrs Marketplace, Garden Foods and Wal Mart – to help Caledon residents identify the products the food support program is most in need of.
“We know people in the community are willing to help”, said D’Eri. “And this will make sure everyone is helping in the right way. We’re really excited about this.” Zehrs store manager Marco Cesarone, Wal Mart manager Tony Calabro and Garden Foods owner Piero Carbone were at Caledon Community Services earlier this month to pose with the tags they will now take back to their stores and use on their shelves. “It’s a really good feeling to know that this simple act will help so much,” said Cesarone, who also was a participant in the food box week.”