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A Successful Pie Campaign

Letter to the Editor

Fredericton Daily Gleaner
15 Oct 2013

Re: Helping out

Once again, the generosity of the Fredericton community was alive and well as friends, community leaders and dining establishments participated in another successful campaign to provide pies for the Fredericton Community Kitchen.

The success of this campaign allowed the dedicated volunteers at the kitchen to provide a hearty Thanksgiving dinner to those who depend on the kitchen for daily nourishment.

I would like to acknowledge everyone who supplied pies, including the following: Premier David Alward and Rhonda Alward; Justice Minister Troy Lifford; MLA for Fredericton Fort Nashwaak, Pam Lynch; Debbi Burgess; Robin Geneau of Geneau Consulting; Kari McBride of Exit Realty; Germaine Pataki Theriault, Gallery 78; the Happy Baker; Brewbakers; Catch Urban Grill and Sunshine Diner.

A huge thank you to chef Brent Conlin of the Crowne Plaza who, once again, baked 12 pies for the campaign.

Thanks to all for helping to make a fellow citizen’s holiday dinner a happy one!

Carlena Munn

Fredericton Community Kitchen

Soup kitchen is enjoying the garden bounty

Letter to the Editor

Fredericton Daily Gleaner 

22 Oct 2013

Re: The kindness of strangers

We would like to thank the community for their increased donations of fresh produce to the Fredericton Community Kitchen.

In recent months we have been attempting to secure more fresh produce and encouraged citizens to drop off surplus crop from even small backyard gardens. The response has been wonderful!

The kitchen is fortunate to receive regular donations of produce from local grocers and farmers including Direct Charge Co-op, Victory Meat Market, Real Food Connections, The Jolly Farmer and many local apple orchards. However, as we are serving more than 10,000 meals a month, we go through hundreds and hundreds of pounds of vegetables each week.

We don’t want to simply serve hearty meals — we aim to serve nutritionally dense meals and receiving fresh produce allows us to do so. We are now able to offer green salads with every meal and are freezing any product that is not used immediately.

Please continue to think of those that we serve, those in most need, when you are gathering the bounties from your gardens. We continue to be in great need of potatoes and carrots in particular, but welcome all donations. Items can be dropped off at the kitchen, seven days per week, between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Aimée Foreman

Executive Director

Fredericton Community Kitchen

Group gives veteran sense of hope

Laurie Patrick Nelson is feeling better. The former member of Canadian Armed Forces received some unexpected support on Friday from VETS Canada. The inter-provincial network of volunteers – who reach out and help veterans who have failed to successfully make the transitions from their military careers to healthy civilian lives – has pledged to assist Nelson in whatever manner they can.

‘I don’t feel alone,’ Nelson said.’I feel like they’re my brothers.’ VETS Canada met up with Nelson on Friday during a walkabout in the downtown. One of the organization’s priorities is assisting those living on the streets and others who may be suicidal. Nelson, 39, said he’s not a homeless veteran but falls in the low-income category because he can’t hold a job. To supplement his income, he sells his artwork on the streets of downtown Fredericton.

Nelson said is receiving half benefits from the military and is in the process of applying for full disability. If he receives full benefits, Nelson said, he can use the money until he’s able to rejoin either the workforce or sign up again with the military. He left the Forces about 10 years ago after sustaining a serious head injury.

JAMES WEST/THE DAILY GLEANER Helping hands: Members of VETS Canada and the Fredericton Police Force walked the streets of Fredericton on Friday afternoon in search for homeless veterans and retired police. Above, Rick DeGruyl, left, and Wayne O’Toole, right, talk with low-income veteran Laurie Patrick Nelson on the steps of the Wilmot United Church.

JAMES WEST/THE DAILY GLEANER
Helping hands: Members of VETS Canada and the Fredericton Police Force walked the streets of Fredericton on Friday afternoon in search for homeless veterans and retired police. Above, Rick DeGruyl, left, and Wayne O’Toole, right, talk with low-income veteran Laurie Patrick Nelson on the steps of the Wilmot United Church.

Nelson said he had never heard of VETS Canada until Friday but is confident they can assist him. ‘They’ve been through it,’ he said. ‘They are older and experienced.’ Matthew Kane, the executive director for VETS Canada in New Brunswick, said an initial walkabout was carried out on Wednesday as part of an effort to identify homeless veterans, both military and RCMP.

While a number of homeless veterans have been recorded across Canada, at least one has been found in Fredericton. ‘With one coming up so rapidly, it’s not something that we expected,’ Kane said.’It may actually be a larger problem than we initially anticipated.’ In Toronto, he said, 16 per cent of homeless people have been identified as being military or RCMP veterans.

‘I think a lot of it has to do with mental health issues,’ Kane said. ‘Myself, I am a veteran; I was diagnosed with PTSD after I returned from operations in the Middle East. If it hadn’t have been for the interventions of friends and family, I was literally weeks away from being homeless. Not knowing how or … being too proud to go out and seek this help is a large part of the issue.’ Katherine Greer-Hulme, a retired military sergeant and media liaison for the organization, said her group volunteered at the Fredericton Community Kitchen this week and were able to show people they were veterans out to help veterans.

‘We’re hoping with this walkabout, more people are going to see us, start asking questions and know that we are here to help,’ she said. ‘We’re trying to get the word out and we have just started the chapter here in New Brunswick.’ Help can take the form of just having someone available to talk to a veteran, bring him or her a coffee, a sleeping bag, get them into the care they need, or help them find housing.

Const. Dave Beck of the Fredericton Police Force’s neighbourhood action team said officers see people on the streets daily. He said he accompanied the group Friday on its walk-around to show them areas where street people hang about. Beck said if police find someone who falls with the category the organization has targeted, they will let VETS Canada know. ‘It’s a wonderful idea,’ Beck said.

MICHAEL STAPLES
THE DAILY GLEANER

Community Kitchen Begins Annual Mail-Out Campaign

The Fredericton Community Kitchen recently launched its biggest fundraiser of the year — its annual mail-out campaign.

The kitchen operations depend entirely on community support. No funds come from the government. The money raised by this campaign account for half of the organization’s operating budget.

“We hope that this year’s letter will express to the community what their support means to our organization. We want people to know that our organization is truly a community kitchen. We rely on the support of our citizens to serve those in greatest need,” said Jan Lockhart, president of the board of directors.

“The kitchen is addressing hunger through many channels. We want to share with the community that their donations are being used not only to serve meals in our dining hall, but that we are delivering meals to the north side of town, providing food boxes to residents moving out of our shelters, rooming houses and transition houses, and sharing food with nearly 20 social service agencies each week, including our food banks,” said Aimée Foreman, the kitchen’s executive director.

“Currently, our primary focus is on developing partnerships with our local schools to support breakfast and snack programs.”

The Fredericton Community Kitchen provides well-balanced, nutritional meals to the less fortunate. The group serves more than 10,000 meals per month with the support of more than 250 volunteers.

For more information, call 457-1788, email info@frederictoncommunitykitchen.com or visit http://www.frederictoncommunitykitchen.com.

STAFF NEWS@DAILYGLEANER.COM
07 Nov 2013

Food bank struggles reflect poverty levels

BY CHRIS MORRIS

Telegraph and Journal 10/12/2013, Page A01

 
FREDERICTON – Across New Brunswick, thousands of individuals and families are quietly giving thanks this weekend for the province’s food banks and soup kitchens.

Although originally intended as a stop-gap measure for people struggling with temporary unemployment and cash shortages, New Brunswick’s network of food banks and community kitchens now are permanent fixtures, and they are growing.

George Piers, spokesman for the New Brunswick Association of Food Banks, said the numbers are staggering: About 20,000 people use the province’s food banks every month, and 50,000 to 60,000 meals are served in soup kitchens per month.

“It’s a business we were hoping to grow out of, but that’s not what is happening,” he said. “The need for food banks and community kitchens is growing.” At the Fredericton Community Kitchen, Aimeé Foreman helps supervise more than 10,000 meals a month.

Foreman, the Executive Director of the Kitchen, said Thanksgiving is an important weekend as volunteers set out white linens on the long, wooden tables to give the people who come for dinner” a piece of home.” “It’s astonishing to think there is so much need in a city the size of Fredericton,” she said in an interview.

“The numbers reflect the core issue: poverty. We serve the homeless population – people living on the streets and in the shelters – and we have many clients on social assistance. At the rates they receive, they cannot maintain a home, heat and food. They cannot cover the bare essentials of life. There are also the people who are not making a living wage.” Foreman said that while the soup kitchen doesn’t often get families and children coming in, she knows it does help individual parents. She said sometimes a father or mother will use the soup kitchen just to make sure the rest of the family has enough to eat or a bit of extra money for something like school supplies.

“It breaks your heart,” she said. “Often they don’t tell their families what they are doing.

“I’m afraid we’re not making inroads. Ultimately we have to look at income. When you look at hunger and homelessness, the root of those issues is poverty.

 


Aimee Foreman, ED
Aimee Foreman, Executive
Director of the Fredericton Community Kitchen, helps supervise more than 10,000 meals a month. Provincially, about 20,000 people use food banks every month and 50,000 to 60,000 meals are served in soup kitchens per month.

PHOTO: STEPHEN MACGILLIVRAY/THE DAILY GLEANER

 

Talking about food security

University students in Fredericton are being called to the forefront of the national campus food movement. The Fredericton chapter of the Campus Food Strategy Group is holding a mixer this month to inform students and faculty of opportunities to get involved in building a secure local food system. FredTalk involves a lecture from St. Thomas University professor Kelly Bronson on food security in New Brunswick, a screening of University of Toronto professor Jason Qu’s TEDx talk about the role students play in food security initiatives, and a panel highlighting the work happening in Fredericton by local food organizations.
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The event is being thrown in partnership between the Fredericton Community Kitchen and Campus Food Strategy Group, one of 10 campus groups participating in a national food charter program. Group co-ordinators Sarah Jane Thiessen and Amanda Cavanagh said the event is aimed at showing students all the ways they can translate academic studies into concrete projects to help community partners. “It’s basically about getting you out of the classroom to apply your knowledge to real problems,” said Cavanagh, who’s doing her PhD in biology at the University of New Brunswick. “Faculty members need eager and keen students with ideas to come forward and say, ‘I have an idea and I’d really like to work with you to build it.’ And students need someone to say, ‘Here are faculty members who might be interested in helping you do that.’ ” Thiessen said the bulk of the group’s focus this year is establishing student research partnerships between professors, students and community organizations. They’ve already facilitated a few initiatives, and hope FredTalk will bring more ideas and new projects to the fore.
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Currently, students from UNB’s mechanical engineering machine design course are working with campus food service provider Sodexo on devising a machine to compact waste. Complementing Sodexo’s new tray-less dining and mandatory plate-scraping policies, the project will see students design a receptacle for food waste that will compact the matter and remove water or other liquids, reducing volume. Thiessen said Sodexo has also indicated interest in a composting program, something mechanical engineering students could assist with for next year’s undertaking. Other engineering students are pairing with A Greener Village to design a compost and wastewater diversion system for the community food centre. The co-ordinators hope to see gains made in the effort to grow food on campus this year, as well. They said they’re optimistic a sociology student at STU will take the file as their major project for the school year, working closely with a professor who’s shown keen interest in campus gardening. Cavanagh said the group is open to – and can find a project for – students from any department, be it engineering, nursing, psychology or environmental science. “You can tie something to food in every discipline, and that’s really powerful,” she said.

“We have the mandate as students to do research and solve problems,” Thiessen added. “We have the resources of the university campus, the library, the online access, to do it, we’d be getting credit for it, and it’s also something these organizations really need.”

by JON MACNEILL

dt.common.streams.StreamServerAmanda Cavanaugh, centre, and Sarah Jane Thiessen, right, of the Fredericton chapter of the Campus Food Strategy Group, are working with community partners like Robyn Lippett, left, of the Fredericton Community Kitchen.

Reminder! Volunteer Appreciation BBQ Today

Our BBQ will take place today on October 6th at Ducks Unlimited on the North Side from 1:30pm until 3:30pm. They have a beautiful site directly adjacent to Carleton Park. We will be using what they call their Outdoor Classroom. There is a lovely, large patio with some sitting area and more sitting inside in their large classroom area. There are paths laid out through the trees and it should be just beautiful for a relaxing walk taking in the beauty of the vibrant colours of the changing leaves. Please, if you have folding lawn chairs, feel free to bring them along with you. There will be plenty of food and we are looking forward to a wonderful, relaxing afternoon with friends and colleagues.

We hope to see as many of you as possible in a setting where we can say “Thank You” for all the wonderful things you do for us at the Kitchen.

Looking forward to seeing you all today, this beautiful sunshiny day at 1:30 at Ducks Unlimited!

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