It Takes a Community to Feed a Community

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Guelph’s SEED Project is delivering 100,000 nutritious food boxes to community members affected by COVID-19

In response to Covid-19, The SEED – a food project of Guelph Community Health Centre – is delivering food to Guelph-Wellington residents most deeply affected by the COVID-19 situation are being prioritized to receive food. For example, vulnerable seniors, people with low-income, and people with health challenges.

The SEED and partners are rapidly scaling up an Emergency Food Home Delivery program to deliver 100,000 nutritious food boxes to community members in need between April and October of 2020. They plan to continue the program after October as well.

“Our long-term goal is for Guelph-Wellington to be one of the first communities in Canada where everyone has enough good food,” says SEED Manager, Gavin Dandy. “That was our goal before Covid-19 and it’s still our goal now. Covid is tough but we’re going to get through this as a community and achieve our long-term goal.”

The Emergency Food Home Delivery program was launched by The SEED in April 2020. Delivering 100,000 nutritious food boxes is a big challenge and it will take several weeks to scale up the program to full capacity. By early June, The SEED had reached the 1,000 deliveries per week plateau. The goal, says Dandy, is to deliver to 4,000 people per week.  

“The community response has been amazing,” says Dandy. “Businesses have donated warehouse equipment and bulk shipments of food. We have 160 volunteers helping to pack food and deliver it. The number of volunteers continues to grow.”

The SEED is operating a 30,000 square foot warehouse to make it all happen. The warehouse was donated rent-free by Wood Development Group, a Guelph-based company. There is a growing list of partnering businesses such as includes K&A Trucking, Linamar, Neighbourhood Group of Companies, Renada Logistics, Sysco, Boucher & Jones Fuel, Cargill, and Maple Lodge Farms.

The nutritious food boxes contain a nutritious mix of frozen meals, fresh food, and shelf-table grocery items. “About 50% of the food is donated by project partners thanks to the foodrescue.ca platform. The rest we buy with money from private donors and funding from foundations. This is a community effort,” says Dandy.

Teams of volunteers are making meals at donated kitchen facilities at Orchard Park and YMCA-YWCA Guelph. The University of Guelph’s Hospitality Services is donating the use of their kitchen and the services of their team of chefs to make thousands of meals per week. The goal is for all the participating kitchens to make more than 300,000 meals between April and October.

“We want to spread the word about the Emergency Food Home Delivery program,” says Dandy. “No matter who you are in the community there’s a way for you to participate. It takes a community to feed a community.” For more information about the Emergency Food Home Delivery program, and to sign up to receive home deliveries, or volunteer, or donate, go to https://www.theseedguelph.ca/homedelivery

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To learn more or if you are interested in connecting with The Seed in Guelph please visit https://www.theseedguelph.ca/ or call 519-821-6638 x317.