A new Community Food Centre has opened in East York.
Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) and South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) celebrated the launch of the Harmony Community Food Centre, at 2 Gower St., earlier this month.
The Harmony CFC, a program of South Riverdale Community Health Centre, joins 12 existing Community Food Centres across the country that bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food for all.
These centres offer programs, such as drop-in meals, community kitchens and civic engagement, that increase food access, build skills and connection, and advance social change.
Community Food Centres Canada provides funding to support core operations and programming.
During COVID-19, Community Food Centres have shifted focus to healthy meals and food hampers for takeaway and delivery. In July, Harmony CFC opened its outdoor Good Food Access Market, providing local community members with vital access to affordable fruits and vegetables.
Harmony CFC is located in a community with higher than average rates of poverty and unemployment compared to the rest of Toronto. It’s also home to multiple newcomer populations. With more than 40 years of service in the neighbourhood, SRCHC identified a need for better access to healthy, affordable food for vulnerable community members, especially seniors living alone and people living with physical disabilities.
“We are excited to be one of 12 Community Food Centres across the country. We welcome the opportunity to expand and offer innovative programming to support existing clients and resources to invite new participants into the space,” said David Livingston-Lowe, Manager, Integration & Service at Harmony Community Food Centre.
“The site is a shared space with our Senior Active Living Centres that operates in four different languages, creating unique opportunities for engagement and intergenerational development.”
“COVID has shown us just how food insecurity and poverty impact the health of communities. With the support of CFCC , Harmony CFC scaled up food production and distribution as a response to assisting vulnerable community members and families to ensure safe access to nutritious food to stay healthy during the pandemic,” said Jason Altenberg, CEO, SRCHC.
“We know there are high rates of unemployment and poverty, much higher than city averages, as well as multiple dense low-income housing buildings and newcomer populations.”
“Through the pandemic, Harmony Community Food Centre has been there for their community, providing access to good food and support,” said Nick Saul, CEO, Community Food Centres Canada.
“We’re proud to partner with South Riverdale Community Health Centre to build a welcoming space that brings people together around good food. Thanks to this partnership, SRCHC will be even better equipped to use food as a tool to improve the health and well-being of community members. This is more important than ever, as COVID has left one in seven Canadians struggling to put food on the table.”
For more information on the Community Food Centre at Harmony Hall, please visit www.srchc.ca/harmony-cfc or call 416-752-0101 ext 226.