By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 16, 2012
As someone who ran the food distribution program, Riun Blackwell is well aware of gaps that prevent people from accessing healthy, nutritious food.
Blackwell salvaged food for Squamish Helping Hands for three years, and saw first hand where the need for healthy food was acute but went unfulfilled.
Seniors, people with disabilities, and single parents found they had no where to silence a grumbling stomach with healthy, nutritious food.
“I became acutely aware of the food disparities in our town,” Blackwell said.
Squamish has no Wheels on Meals, which only added another layer of anxiety for those trying to access healthy hot food.
The shortcoming was felt acutely at the seniors housing, where single seniors have struggled to make a healthy meal.
The chasm nagged Blackwell, and this Thurday, June 14, he made an effort to fill it with healthy, hot meals delivered straight to those who need them.
Addressing a gathering of more than 40 seniors at the Cedars and Manor, Blackwell explained the program and its scope.
In partnership with the Salvation Army, Riun Blackwell will bring frozen food cooked up from Vancouver and distribute it to needy seniors in Squamish.
He is also hoping someone would donate him an extra freezer to store the frozen food.
“I will deliver the food, but people can also come and pick it up from my home,” he said.
The USP of the meal is its price.
Prepared by chef Scott Rowe, who has worked at popular restaurants in Vancouver, a packaged dinner would cost just $4.
There is combo pasta with shrimp chicken mushroom sauce, beef and vegetable lasagna, and meat ball with hunter sauce, and roast pork with gravy, just to name a few.
A side serving of soup is just $1.25.
Laura Modray, the administrator of Squamish Seniors Citizens Home Society, said Riun’s solution has promise for senior who lack the intiative or skill to prepare a healthy meal.
“Many of them will just open a can and make do. Riun’s program will address some of the needs for Meals on wheels,” Modray said.
Riun has already taken 40 orders. Doreen Ramus ordered a beef lasagna with cheese.
“It was fine, and I like the fact that the meals are low in sodium,” Ramus said.
Blackwell is hoping he would get enough orders in the future to start cooking meals here in Squamish.
And a reminder, he is looking for an extra freezer to store food. Contact him at Blackwell@shaw.ca