Food security program fills food bank void in Kamsack
The Kamsack Family Resource Centre has launched a two-pronged food security and nutrition program.
Without a food bank in the community, Kamsack Family Food Security will provide some basic food needs for referred families in emergencies.
The Kamsack Family Meal Kits will improve nutrition for families by teaching them how to prepare and cook healthy meals to encourage long-term healthy eating habits.
These types of programs are outside the centre’s responsibility, but they saw a need during the pandemic and decided to act.
"It's a meal that they don't have to worry about once a week. It alleviates some of that stress, it might be one less trip to the grocery store," said Megan Peters, an early years facilitator at the centre.
Both programs are available to families with children ten and under.
"We recognize that this pandemic has affected everybody. It doesn't matter what your household income is, it doesn't matter what your literacy level is, it doesn't matter, this is for anybody and everybody in Kamsack," said Peters.
The meal kits go out to up to 20 families once a week and is based on a monthly registration schedule, although this portion of the program won’t run in July.
Families are encouraged to curbside pick up their meals, but with transportation a barrier for some, delivery is also available.
The on-demand food portion will remain open and available for anyone, including those enrolled in the kits.
The program is only in its second week starting at the beginning of the month, but the resource centre is receiving positive feedback.
"Parents are really proud of what they cooked. They might of had to switch up the sweet potato for a potato and just seeing that really made it, we know we're doing good work," said Andrea Verigin, who is also an early years facilitator at the centre.
The kits come with all the ingredients you need for a predetermined meal, from the cooking oil to the parmesan cheese, and an instructional recipe card.
"That recipe outlines the healthy ingredients and it also gives them some guidance as to how to put them together to get a successful end result," said Amber Barrowman, a registered dietician working with the program.
Educational information on topics such as parenting and budgeting are also included in the bags.
"Being given this package they know 'OK, tonight we're having a healthy meal', but now how does this apply to tomorrow's meal and meals down the road," Barrowman said.
She added good nutrition plays a role in many factors of our lives, whether it be mental or physical health.
The program is funded by a grant from the federal Emergency Food Security Fund, which is administered by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.