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Kitchen Creations

Providing people with nutritious food is an essential part of the work of food banks. Another is offering education programs that teach skills such as how to turn that food into delicious meals and how to eat nutritiously even on a tight budget.

Thousands of food bank recipients participate each year in community kitchen programs, where they learn how to create meals for their families using foods provided by the food bank, prepare foods that are new to them, plan menus, grocery shop on a budget, and read food labels to make good food choices.

A wide range of people benefit from these programs, including individuals living alone with limited meal preparation facilities, mothers cooking for young families, and kids and teens who prepare their own snacks or meals. In addition to skills training, participants also derive a valuable sense of community by learning together, sharing meals, and exchanging advice.

The Kitchen Creations Fund helps our network by funding program development and equipment purchases to help organizations provide food-focused education and skill-building programs.

The Kitchen Creations Fund is a grant program that helps Provincial Associations and Affiliate food banks provide learning and skill-building opportunities for food bank recipients in the areas of food literacy, nutrition, kitchen skills, and meal preparation.

The fund's goal is to help food banks offer programs that help participants improve their:

  • knowledge of nutrition
  • food literacy
  • menu planning and meal preparation skills

Kitchen programs have a profoundly positive effect on the participants and their families.

"The community kitchen has got me back into the kitchen again to try new recipes and things that I wouldn’t normally have eaten and to start preparing dishes of my own. I have done two soups in the last two days. Keeps me away from the fast food places and absolutely has had a positive impact on my health."

Participant from Daily Bread Food Bank

Kitchen programs are an important way of developing better nutrition and self-sufficiency. But their ability to help is hindered if they don’t have the right equipment. Kitchen Creations was set up to help. In the words of one grant recipient:

"I offer many different programs at the food bank using the community kitchen. Many times I have been frustrated about the lack of quality equipment that makes things like cutting and chopping, measuring, and cooking easier and more enjoyable. We now have measuring cups that make it easier for seniors and kids to measure with. We have high quality oven mitts, sharp knives, enough cutting boards to go around and pots and pans in suitable sizes for all groups. This funding has made it so much easier to prepare food with people with limited kitchen skills."

Community Nutrition Worker, Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank

The Kitchen Creations Fund has supported more than 60 food banks by helping them establish kitchens and develop cooking, meal planning, and nutrition programs and has had a positive influence on thousands of food bank recipients.

"The kitchen is now a much more enjoyable place. It allows us to safely prepare food and the atmosphere really supports and encourages participation in our work."

Volunteer from Centre de Bénévolat de la Vallée-de-l’Or

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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)