Originally launched just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to address growing food security issues, the Community Food Box program has since attracted many community partners helping it to deliver essentials for healthy eating.
The program evolved and is now used by people who are quarantining due to COVID-19 and by others who cannot or choose not to leave home for health and safety reasons.
In its first year of operation, more than 5,865 food boxes have been delivered – the equivalent of 32,258 meals.
“Right from the start the food box was well received and the pandemic has just increased the need as seniors and other vulnerable people isolate at home,” says Community Care Durham CEO James Meloche.
“We were fortunate to have so many of our community partners reach and make this happen. Our success is truly a community success.”
On average, about 100 boxes are delivered across Durham each Friday. Depending on availability, each food box may contain eggs and dairy; breads and baked goods; pasta and soups; beverages; paper products; and fruits and vegetables.
According to CCD, 161 boxes of food were delivered the week prior to the holidays in December.
“Given that each box contains enough food for five-and-a-half meals, clients knew their food boxes would help carry them through the holiday,” Meloche adds.
Erin Harvey, CCD’s Community Food Box Service Coordinator, says she’s been impressed at the positive reaction she’s getting from organizations that want to help.
“It really does take a village to bring it all together and make everything happen,” says Harvey. “The program is so much more than a food delivery service. It’s about people helping people.”
Harvey says the help from CCD’s partners and volunteers have been instrumental in the program’s success.
“It’s been outstanding. Our goal is making sure that what’s inside the food boxes is local, providing great quality and nutritious items.”
The W. Galen Weston Centre for Food at Durham College, one of CCD’s partners, continues to donate produce from its greenhouse, and supply green herbs and honey made on-site.
“They have been so helpful,” Harvey continues, adding Durham College even supplied recipes based on the items in the box.
“Their goal to provide sustainability and to support local truly aligns with the direction the community food box is going.”
The Community Food Box program is just one of the many programs and services offered by CCD as the organization works to support people to maintain their independence and live safely in their own homes.
To order a Community Food Box, call 1-888-255-6680 or complete the online referral form found on the CCD website at www.communitycaredurham.on.ca.
Each box costs $35 and delivery is free.