Helping people in need, goes well beyond the scope of food.
While food banks exist to offer vital assistance to individuals and families experiencing financial hardships, food isn’t the only thing they provide. Many also serve as vital community hubs where people can connect to services and supports they might not normally have access to.
Food alone won’t solve hunger
Which is why Food Banks Canada is working with the network to address the underlying issues that send people to food banks in the first place.
Research suggests that better outcomes can be achieved for people experiencing food insecurity when food banks are integrated with community resource centres.1 That’s why community leaders and volunteers across the network of food banks are committed to providing clients with access to wrap-around support services, such as program referrals and tax clinics.
PROMOTING FOOD SECURITY THROUGH EMPLOYMENT READINESS
Through easily accessible employment, education and community supports, the ultimate goal of the Beyond Food program is to reduce food insecurity in the community by providing clients with the means to afford their own food.
“Personally, I had to rebrand myself by re-skilling to match the job market requirements. I was able to attain the objective and managed to secure employment in the construction industry. Thank you to everyone at Beyond Food!”
– Joseph, a Beyond Food program client who updated his resume, practiced interview questions, and obtained a safety ticket
EXPANDING FREE TAX FILING TO FIGHT INEQUALITY
“The most significant impact that participation in the Tax Clinic program has had is the impact on our clients. By filing taxes, we have connected clients to social assistance programs and other benefits from the government which will enable them to receive either lump sum or periodic payments. This will lead to making their lives and situations easier. By returning funds back to these clients, this alleviated some financial hardship and associated stress that is inherent in filing taxes.”
– Heather McLean, The Mississauga Food Bank
INTEGRATED SUPPORTS AND SERVICES BRIDGE THE GAP TO INDEPENDENCE AND SELF SUFFICIENCY
“We firmly believe that food security is the catalyst that brings people to the agency, and we are pleased to be able to provide them with the integrated supports and services that will help them bridge the gap to independence and self sufficiency”
– Betty-Lou Souter, CEO Community Care of St. Catherines & Thorold
The programs they offer include:
- Food Bank, Clothing and Household goods – once registered clients may access all of these items they may need.
- Savoury Samples – tasting samples are offered to clients along with bagged ingredients and recipes to take home.
- Community Gardens- 30 plots located throughout St.Catharines
- Niagara Nutrition Partners – coordinated student nutrition programs at elementary and secondary schools
- Housing Supports – Assist those who are homeless, at risk of being homeless, receiving government assistance, underemployed, facing eviction, leaving institution, or in need of community support
- Trusteeship Program – money management and direct distribution of support funds.
- Ontario Electricity Support Program
- Brushed Aside – dentures, fillings, extractions etc.
- Senior Health and Well Being Fund – assisting seniors with glasses, hearing aids, prescriptions etc.
- Gift of Sight – help with eye exams and glasses
- ID Clinic – assists clients with applications for new or replacement ID applications
- Income Tax Clinics
“Community Care went beyond what would be required to ensure that I had proper housing first and foremost…and nurtured me back to a place where I once again am beginning to feel as if I belong to this community.”