At Sherbourne, we believe that everyone deserves access to comprehensive and holistic health and wellness supports that address physical and mental health, and which also impact social determinants of health. Food security is one of those determinants.
The Sherbourne Health Food for Good (FFG) initiative creates opportunities that increase access to food and connect people to community. FFG integrates the many food and nutrition support programs we provide to individuals who face food insecurity, need support to manage their dietary restrictions and want to improve their quality of health and wellbeing. This initiative lays the foundation for further growth as we address the escalating issues of food insecurity and social isolation.
We offer several food and nutrition programs run by a staff of licensed dietitians and health professionals and we continuously adapt programming to meet our clients’ needs. Sherbourne also recognizes that in order to assist people facing food insecurity, poverty, and social isolation, we must expand our approach to include skills development along with nutritional education and create spaces for that integration and opportunity to occur.
To do this, Sherbourne is complementing our current food and nutrition programming with the implementation of philosophical and physical changes, including an overhaul of our current meal offerings, a lobby café renovation, more effective use of our community kitchen, and the creation of a rooftop garden to provide fresh produce for our food programs. All of these enhancements will be supplemented by learning opportunities and practical skills development for our clients and service users. This is at the core of the FFG initiative.
To achieve its purpose, FFG outlines four main objectives:
Providing Healthy Food Options to Those In Need: Target food insecurity so that those most vulnerable in our community have access to healthy food.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have noticed that more of our clients and community members are facing food insecurity. We are partnering with organizations like Second Harvest and FoodShare, and government, foundation and corporate funders, to ensure that we are offering healthy and nutritious options for our clients and communities.
With this support, we are creating food hampers with essential and nutritious goods that, due to social distancing, are picked up onsite or delivered by volunteers to homebound clients. We are also creating takeaway lunches for clients of our various programs, and are offering food and meal assistance through the St. James Town catering collective (run by newcomer women to give free, healthy meals to those experiencing food insecurity) and our Health Bus.
Nurturing Health: Promote and teach approaches to healthy eating so people can manage and maintain good health on their own terms.
We achieve this through many of our food and nutrition programs, such as FoodFit, Craving Change, a Diabetes Education program and our Learning Kitchen.
To continue to provide support with healthy eating during the pandemic, we launched a Learning Kitchen video series on how to make nutritious and low-cost meals. Check out two videos featuring Bean Burgers and Kale Salad.
Creating Opportunities: Develop sustainable training initiatives that build skills and knowledge about food and food services and support employment opportunities.
Rather than “give a person a fish,” we are guided by the approach to “teach a person to fish” as a way of developing sustainable training initiatives around food and cooking. To help achieve this, we aim to renovate our café and transform it into a social enterprise, and construct a rooftop garden, which will provide skills development for service users to learn how to grow fresh produce and create healthy meals for clients of our food programs.
Connecting People and Building Strong Communities: Develop spaces for community members to cook together, share personal stories, and foster relationships that build strong communities and reduce social isolation.
This will be achieved through the use of our community kitchen (which, due to the pandemic, is currently acting as the dedicated space to pack food hampers and meals for those facing food insecurity in our community), as well as programming that will bring together all the populations we serve in one place, to connect and learn from each other.
Help us create opportunities that increase access to food and connect people to community, and provide individuals facing food insecurity with the sustenance and support they need during the healthcare crisis. Donate now to the Food for Good initiative.
OUR COMMUNITY OF SUPPORTERS
Special thanks to our Food for Good community partners for their generous support during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allowed us to continue to provide safe, essential care to our clients and communities:
Community Food Centres Canada
Community Foundations of Canada
Gay Lea Foundation
Good Food Access Fund
Green Sanderson Family Foundation
Greenrock Charitable Trust
La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso
Rotary Club of Toronto
Unifor Social Justice Fund
United Way Greater Toronto
Thanks also to the Deloitte Creative Team for providing pro bono services towards the design and production of the Food for Good visual identity and poster campaign.
For more information about Food for Good, contact Joe Goulart at firstname.lastname@example.org.