Community Potluck Hosted by Former CCRW Participant
I and mom approached Dr. Lloydetta Quaicoe founder and CEO of Sharing Our Cultures Inc with the idea of a free pantry resource at their office to be made available for the BIPOC youth that already utilize their youth programs. It would be a way to normalize the act of giving or recieving food staples in safe public space and make food security accessible and increase the mobility of these items in the community. It would hopefully reduce the stigma or stereotypes surrounding the shame of having to access community food resources.
I was also trying to expand access to these hard to find international items and promote strengthening our connection to our customary cultural culinary needs. Food or dietary needs are often overlooked or undervalued when it comes to comfort and it's influence on our successful transition to a "new home", when we come from other nations with very different cooking needs. Food is an expression but it also empowers us and is apart of our dignity. When we move and become newcomers, it's hard to be somewhere new learning new ways while being stunted or unable to continue to practice, remember or share who we were. Food plays a very important role towards our identity and mental health.
The focus would be on providing international pantry staples to provide short term "on the spot" alleviation to assist with items for a meal preparation at home. It is not a food bank or hamper distribution. It is simply a spot to pick up a couple items when in a moment of need that the future sustainability of the project would depend upon on the fact that its donation driven. It would supply international items, hygiene items and LED light bulbs. We tried to provide one shelf (top shelf); dedicated to dietary inclusivity and visability offering Halal items and gluten or peanut free items. The 3rd shelf was reserved for hygiene and LED bulbs. The remaining shelves are dedicated to sauces, spices, desserts and other ingredients.
I was to share awareness at this community potluck about International Development Week, Sustainable Development Goals and how we as youth can help end hunger in our community by 2030. I focused on Sustainable Development Goals #1 No poverty, #2 Zero hunger, #3 Good health & Wellbeing and #7 Access to clean affordable energy. The items in the pantry helped our neighborhood with reaching these goals. Since moving to this province I observed that international items were hard to find, out of stock or very expensive when on a low income budget. These stores were spread out across the metropolitan area that transportation is an additional barrier. "Take what you need, leave what you can" is the motto of the global Little Free Pantry Movement. I was able to get a Special Guest Speaker: Joshua Smee from Food First NL.This starter project for sustainable development was Funded by the ACIC - Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (https://www.acic-caci.org/idw-2023-youth-funding) via Global Affairs Canada. I applied for a $500 grant and received it.