The Fredericton Community Food Center has evolved from a food bank providing emergency food and clothing to an organization providing emergency food and clothing as well as offering different programs to promote self-sufficiency. With our new location we have the space to utilize so we’re constantly changing and evolving.
2) What got you/your organization started on your mission?
The food bank started when members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church saw that there was a need for someone to provide free clothing to those in need. It then progressed to food and clothing and then to more programs, such as school supplies, Christmas hampers, Christmas gifts for kids, tax filing etc. I started as a volunteer 17 years ago which then segued into working with the furniture program and then into my primary position which is client relations. I think it’s very important to make sure that anyone and everyone who comes to us for help is treated as an important individual. We try very hard to not treat anyone as a number or a statistic.
3) What is it about Fredericton and the surrounding area that makes your mission so important?
There’s a need in the city to provide food and food security to those who are on a low or fixed income. The rents in the city are disproportionately high and combined with the prices for necessities like power and phone there’s very little left for those on income assistance or working for minimum wage or getting employment insurance. Although many of our clients are on assistance, the second highest percentage of people using the food bank services are employed. They simply can’t make ends meet on minimum wage.
4) Do you have any big events coming up?
We almost constantly have things on the go, food drives and promotions, new projects and the like. We are just about finished renovations on our kitchen so we can provide a teaching kitchen for those who can benefit from learning basic cooking skills. We have gardening opportunities to provide produce for our food hampers. There’s a lot going on. Coming up in September, in accordance with Family Farm Day (September 15th) we’ll be having tours and activities as well.
5) What do you hope to see for your organization in the coming year?
We hope to have more opportunities to engage our clients, to keep them involved and to help them establish more self sufficiency. We hope to have the kitchen be available if a group wants to make their own jams or bottle vegetables in a commercial grade facility (thus allowing for reselling), we hope to open up the garden space and greenhouses as part of the community garden projects. We’d like to be able to offer budgeting seminars and the like as well. It’s a constant and ongoing look at what is needed and what we can provide.