From Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, non-profits and volunteers joined forces, under challenging circumstances, to make sure those in need had access to food.

North Grove

The North Grove is a dynamic community hub in North Dartmouth offering programs, services and space for people to learn and connect through family support, food and friendship. Staff and volunteers at the North Grove worked quickly to reimagine how a community could support each other while physically apart.

The team moved their entire food program to an outside pick-up and delivery system to provide over 30,000 nutritious meals and 12,000 fresh produce kits to community members. In addition, they placed over 3,500 calls to check in on their neighbours, distributed over 1,500 craft kits for kids, and offered hours of online programming such as story & circle time, interactive workshops and cooking demos.

Several people picked up meals for neighbours who had a difficult time getting to the centre, enabling the meal program to continue fostering a social connection even when people were unable to sit down together to share a meal. It’s an example of how the North Grove has become a true community hub, keeping local residents connected, informed and engaged.

“There are so many testimonials every week. We see families helping families. Community members helping their neighbours and friends. Some declared this was the only good food that they have in the day.”

North Grove Staff


For over 35 years, FoodShare’s focus has been on building a more equitable food system where communities have power over their food choices. When those communities were facing deep food insecurity, FoodShare quickly pivoted to provide over 100,000 Emergency Good Food Boxes — filled with over 1.75 million pounds of fresh produce — to individuals and families across Toronto.

Recognizing the connection between access to fresh, healthy food and recovery from COVID-19 and other chronic illnesses, FoodShare also launched the Food Rx Fruit & Vegetable Pilot Prescription program. This innovation integrates FoodShare as a community organization with health care resources, such as the University Health Network, to support the health of people who disproportionately experience food insecurity and chronic health conditions.

Upon discharge from the hospital or a COVID-19 testing site, up to 200 individuals are “prescribed” a subscription for a Good Food Box for a 3-month period, free of charge. Not only does this initiative alleviate food insecurity, it deepens connections between the healthcare system, community organizations and the individuals they collectively serve.

Greater Shediac Community Garden

Over the last year, the benefits of local, community-led sustainable food systems have been demonstrated across Canada. When people have the opportunity to engage in a local food or agriculture system, they not only see improvements in their social and physical wellbeing, but also within their environment and local economy.

The Greater Shediac Community Garden works to strengthen food security in their region through 200+ gardening beds, a learning centre, meditation garden, children’s garden and a 2,000-square-foot root vegetable garden.

In 2021, the Community Garden is adding a greenhouse and teaching kitchen to their programming site. The new structure will extend the growing season and provide the community with more space to develop their food and gardening skills. The Community Garden offers a variety of on-site and virtual educational workshops, equipping their 300+ members with the skills to start seeds, tend gardens, harvest produce, and preserve seasonal crops — building food resilience for themselves, and their community.

Community organizations provide critical resources to vulnerable Canadians when they need them most.

Below are three of the many organizations on the frontlines that responded to the challenges of the pandemic with empathy, compassion and the resources Canadians required to meet basic needs, such as access to good food.

Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank

The Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank in Alberta is a volunteer-run charity operated by the Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society, supporting an estimated 1,000 people in their community each month. Throughout the past year, the food bank has remained open to ensure local needs are met. With a commitment to addressing food insecurity, by providing a hand-up for the short or long term, food bank volunteers work daily to prepare hampers that clients can access every three weeks. Hampers are filled with non-perishable staples as well as fruit, vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat. Twice a month, clients can also add personal care and household items.

The Depot Community Food Centre

Montreal’s Depot adapted their drop-in meal program to deliver over 2,400 meals and close to 700,000 pounds of fresh food through an Emergency Food Basket Program. In total, over 7,000 individuals were served. In addition to emergency food services, the Depot created and distributed complementary materials such as recipes, ingredient lists and cooking instructions to support healthy eating for their community during the pandemic.

“Thank you for the help you provided during the pandemic and for the videos you posted. They were very helpful in giving us some ideas of the recipes we can make using the food provided in the basket!”

Depot Community Member

Choices for Youth

In St. John’s, Choices for Youth ensured vulnerable youth and young families had continued access to staff support and fresh meals. Not only did this address food insecurity, it reminded them they were not alone. At the height of lockdown, Choices for Youth delivered daily meals to 100 young people and provided weekly food hampers and care kits to 75 parents and 110 kids.

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