A community organization has created a partnership that extends across 11 municipalities to help people suffering from food insecurity.
Since 1998, Ressources familiales Côte-de-Beaupré has supported families with children up to age 12 in the Côte-de-Beaupré region, near Quebec City. Keen to expand its reach, the community organization decided to create alliances.
Food insecurity: A key priority for community organizations
“Food insecurity is a real issue for those in difficulty: people with mental health problems or low income, people who have dropped out of school or are alone,” explains acting director Véronique Vézina. “We want all of them to have access to food.”
Ressources familiales Côte-de-Beaupré has acquired solid expertise over the past 20 years. As well as providing emergency food assistance to families, the organization runs a community grocery store. However, although the team is able to help this particular clientele, it lacks the resources to identify and reach out to other people in need. “We therefore decided to bring partners on board: partners working with homeless, the unemployed and excluded people.”
Consequently, ten community organizations, each working with a specific clientele, joined forces with Ressources familiales Côte-de-Beaupré. “To maximize efficiency, we decided not to establish common evaluation criteria,” says Véronique. “Instead, each organization makes its own evaluation and refers vulnerable people to us.”
Community grocery store and creative cooking workshops
Every month, people previously identified by partner organizations can visit the community grocery store. “Thanks to the 100 degrés/Louis Bonduelle Foundation grant, we have opened another store in Château-Richer. All the food, which is supplied by Moisson Québec and local partners, is free to participants.”
The organization also runs creative cooking workshops to help participants to prepare dishes from the food offered. As well as developing their cooking skills, this initiative helps reduce food waste. “Our workshops are an opportunity to learn different ways to prepare seasonal fruits and vegetables and discover lesser-known produce, which is often left in the grocery store because people don’t know about them.” Three workshops are held each month in Beaupré, Château-Richer and Saint-Tite-des-Caps.
Through these partnerships, Ressources familiales Côte-de-Beaupré has doubled the number of families benefiting from a community grocery store. In addition, more and more people want to attend the creative cooking workshops. What’s also interesting is that families taking part in the workshops are filling their baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables more often—a sign that cooking makes you love vegetables!
Les pouces d’Octave is a winner of the 100° call for proposals, “S’approvisionner autrement: fruits et légumes à l’année pour tous!” [Sourcing differently: Fruits and vegetables all year round for all!], conducted in partnership with the Louis Bonduelle Foundation.
100° is the reference for healthy living in Quebec.
Véronique Vézina, acting Director of Ressources Familiales Côte-de-Beaupré.