Community kitchen co-ordinator Sheila Avery

Community kitchen helps families learn cooking basics

You’ve heard of community gardens, but what about community kitchens?

You’ve heard of community gardens, but what about community kitchens?

The growing movement allows families the chance to gather together and prepare healthy, affordable meals which are then shared among the group. It isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but it’s beginning to gain momentum in the Capital Region.

In Saanich, a pair of community kitchens are operated by Saanich Neighbourhood Place in the Pearkes Recreation Centre.

“It’s really taking off, because more and more people are finding it difficult to fill their food needs, especially if they don’t have a big budget,” said Sheila Avery, co-ordinator of food security programs at Saanich Neighbourhood Place.

Avery, who has overseen similar programs added while making meals is the stated purpose of the kitchens, in reality they provide much more than just food.

“It’s also a way for people to meet others,” she said. “Maybe they’re new to the area and they don’t know anyone, or they want to get to know their neighbours better.”

The social aspect of the kitchens can’t be overstated, said the executive director of the provincially-funded centre.

“In my mind, it’s as important as the meals they come away with,” Colleen Hobson said. “The support systems are huge. In times of high stress, just having an outlet can be great. Some conversations you hear in the kitchen are pretty enlightening.”

The community kitchens operate on about $30,000 a year, with the money coming from  gaming revenue. The funds don’t cover the cost of all the food — some comes either from donations or the participants themselves. Grants also pay a portion of Avery’s salary.

Saanich Neighbourhood Place also offers childminding services, which helps parents take part in many of the programs offered at the centre.

That focus on inclusiveness extends to individual cooking abilities.

“We have two ends of the spectrum,” said Avery, about the community kitchen participants. “One’s ‘I’m going to teach you how to cut an onion,’ and the other are super cooks.”

The cost to participants is minimal. There’s no charge if you supply your own food. If you don’t, the cost is $5 per session.

There are anywhere from 100 to 150 people involved in the kitchens at a given time throughout the year, said Hobson, adding that she and Avery are exploring ways to expand the program so that it can run during the evening as well.

“When you see the success of support networks, with food being the medium that joins people together, that’s the best part,” Avery said.

For more, see www.saanichneighbourhoodplace.com/programs.

 

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Fire destroys South Island Concrete building in Sooke

No injuries resulted from large structure fire

Victoria considers hiring more staff, less public engagement to get bike lanes built faster

An expedited installation of bike lanes could cost an extra $410,000

Lego exhibit fuelled busiest ever January for Sidney Museum

Thousands visit museum over Family Day long weekend, with Lego exhibition on display until March 31

Meet the Greater Victoria athletes in Red Deer for the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Players express gratitude and excitement about representing Team BC

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read