Affordable Food Program Comes to Squamish in September

Cooks Training

The $25,000 grant will allow the New Hope Cuisine program to expand to Squamish. Above, chef Rowe and community volunteers at the North Vancouver kitchen.

By Bronwyn Scott
Published: Aug. 24, 2013

In September, Squamish’s most needy will have access to healthy and affordable chef prepared meals, thanks to a grant from the Salvation Army headquarters in Toronto.

The $25,000 grant will allow the New Hope Cuisine program to expand to Squamish, allowing seniors and other vulnerable groups to access fresh and healthy food at low prices.

“In essence, it’s for anyone who has barriers to feeding themselves,” said Chef Scott Rowe.

“There are the economic barriers, but some seniors can have a problem just preparing meals,” he said.

Frozen meals prepared by Chef Rowe and other community volunteers in North Vancouver would be trucked to Squamish, where they will be stored at the Mountain Valley Mission in downtown Squamish.

The frozen meals will be supplied to people through partnerships with community organizations, said Rowe.

A three part meal will sell for $4, and would contain rice, potato, vegetables and the main course. One dish item or casserole will cost $3.50, while the soup would cost $1.25.

“In essence, it’s for anyone who has barriers to feeding themselves.” Chef Scott Rowe.

The program aims to provide anywhere from 1000 to 2000 meals per month.

Meals

A three course meal, prepared by a chef and volunteers in North Vancouver, would cost $4.
Photo: Chef Scott Rowe

“These are healthy low sodium, low sugar meals made by a chef and community volunteers,” Rowe added.

Those planning to use this service should be thankful to local resident Riun Blackwell, who first initiated the program last year, but had to stop due to logistics.

The costs of following through for the properly labeled packaging and transportation were too great and Blackwell held back.

Blackwell is glad to see someone has picked up where he left.

“This is wonderful news, and there is a need for this type of service in our town,” he said.

There are troubling statistics when it comes to food security in the province, and in this region.

According to the annual report by the Dieticians of Canada, the average monthly cost of a nutritious food basket in the province is $868.43.

That number goes upward in our region.

The average cost of a similar basket in the Vancouver Coastal Health region: $944.16.

Gerry Kesten, community nutritionist for the region, says it’s easy for families to meet their calorie need, but not their nutritional needs.

“Income barriers related to social and housing cost all play a factor,” Kesten said.

Recently, a food drive by Squamish Food Bank collected approximately 5000 items of food, of which more than 1900 items were donated by Nesters.

The food bank also raised $4155.19 during this drive called Christmas in July.

The Hope Cusine program is expected to start by mid-Septermber, although there is no fixed date yet.

—With files from Gagandeep Ghuman

Comments

  1. Nick Tattersfield says:

    Why just these anointed deserving poor? Can I expect social assistance in the near future to enable ne to step up to 20 year old scotch instead of the hate full 12 year old I am am presently forced to imbibed by an un caring patriarchy?

  2. heather gee says:

    This sounds like a great program.
    Several times I have heard volunteers who work up at Hilltop remark on the positive turnaround in health of people who have moved to Hilltop from the seniors housing.

  3. stirling angus says:

    This nutritious food program sounds excellent and should help augment the other food support systems in our community to encourage food security. Thanks to Squamish Reporter for your good coverage of this issue!

  4. Peter Harker says:

    Just what the community ordered.
    Smaller social service organisations coming to Squamish to provide community services.
    Bigger is not better.

  5. The Poor says:

    “Why just these anointed deserving poor? Can I expect social assistance in the near future to enable ne to step up to 20 year old scotch instead of the hate full 12 year old I am am presently forced to imbibed by an un caring patriarchy?”

    Are you F@#$%ing kidding me?! Your going to bad mouth a program designed to provide affordable, nutritious meals to those who otherwise would go without?? Or would go with less, select items with little to no nutritional value, or skip paying bills and even rent or mortgage just so they can eat??? Because you think you should also then be provided with better alcohol?!?!? The level of your entitlement is baffling… These people need food to survive and be healthy, if you’ve never been in a position of needing help just for basic necessities you’re luckier than you even know… Simply your ability to afford everything in your life, up to and including food and alcohol is a blessing you seem to take for granted…

  6. Dave says:

    Great stuff. Well done….not sure what point Mr. Tattersfield is trying to make but it seems that all the rest of the comments are deservedly positive and supportive.