By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley
Eating together is a symbol of shared life; it’s about belonging. The Good Food Collective is exactly about that.
A collaboration between the Georgina Food Pantry, Community Living Georgina and Routes Connecting Communities, it provides delicious, nutritious, community lunches to residents every Wednesday at the Link, 20849 Dalton Rd, from 12:00 to 1:30 pm.
With menus featuring ethnic dishes, like Butter Chicken and Thai Curry, made with locally sourced ingredients, the sit-down meals are a big hit with lunch-goers, and the best part is the price: pay-what-you-can. There is also an option of take-out for just $5.
“Our numbers continue to grow,” said Carolyn Grossi, Senior Manager at Routes CC.
“We serve on average 135 meals a week (approximately 60 take out and 75 dine-in). We have served just under 2,500 meals in 2022 and will surpass 3,000 by the end of the year.”
Grossi says the program is not only meeting a need for low-cost, nutritious meals, it’s also helping to build community.
“Anyone can come, have a nutritious meal, meet old friends, or make new friends,” she said.
“Seeing the smiles and friendships that have evolved over the last few months, makes it all worth it.”
Patti Burgess from Community Living Georgina agrees.
“During the pandemic many people were isolated in their homes, so after the restrictions were lifted, we decided to bring people together by catering lunches.”
Burgess stresses the lunches are for everyone, not just seniors or vulnerable people.
“I am glad to see more and more workers from local businesses come to the Link for lunch,” she said.
The Good Food Collective, which also offers a catering service called World Flavours Catering, provides a great opportunity for volunteers to learn food planing, budgeting and cooking skills.
The meals are prepared and served by volunteers, some of whom are supported by Community Living, under the supervision of a professional chef.
“They have an opportunity to learn practical skills, as well as social skills, by interacting with people in our community,” said Burgess.
Many of the volunteers have completed their Food Handlers Certification which helps them find employment, another important aspect of the project.
Anyone who needs transportation to the community lunches can book a ride by calling (905) 722-4616.
For more information, including upcoming menus and how to volunteer, visit: https://www.goodfoodcollective.ca/
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