Bringing together community through food

The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, located in downtown Kjipuktuk – Halifax, is an essential organization that provides programs and services to the urban Indigenous population in Halifax and beyond. They are also recent recipients of the Healthy Food Fund.

The Healthy Food Fund was designed to help improve food security over the summer months, where many regular food programs are limited. The fund was made possible thanks to a grant from the Province of Nova Scotia, and a generous matching gift from the TD Bank Group through their TD Ready Commit Initiative.

At the Mi’kmaw Friendship Centre, the Healthy Food Fund directly supported an opportunity to help participants with food security, provide nutritional options, and build a sense of community while cooking.

More than a food hamper

For Tina, a participant in the program, it meant having ‘fresh, good, and plentiful food.’

She said the food hamper allowed her to support and feed all the women that live together in her women’s rooming house.

Tina learned how to make a pot of chicken soup, and some meat pies with the provided ingredients and guidance. She said it felt different than other food security initiatives she has received, because the Friendship Centre prioritized teaching family style cooking. As a result, she was able to support and bring together all the women in her home through food.

The Friendship Centre staff articulated the importance of recognizing what community is and what it means to them. The Healthy Food Fund supported their initiative to bringing community back to what it is intended to be.

“People are taught that their problems are personal, but they are not, they are societal, it takes the community out of community. If they can learn together, they are enough to support each other, and everyone can eat, which in turn is good for your mental and physical health. Doing things together allows you to do more.”

This Healthy Food Fund program fed over 30 single participants, and 10 family participants at the Friendship Centre. It also supported many more people who came to access other services, leaving with fresh, and nutritious food.

In addition to receiving food, participants learned how to cook, how to create grocery lists, how to better support themselves.

The Healthy Food Fund supported 30 local charities with up to $10,000 in funding. It provided healthy groceries, snacks and meals to those in our community most impacted by food insecurity in the summer months.