Through FoodRescue.ca, a creation of Second Harvest, CMHA-S/M has been able to rescue the equivalent of about 611 meals that have been available to residents of our Victoria Street Place (VSP) location.
VSP is a 7 bedroom shared living home that provides transitional housing for up to 8 months to individuals who identify as having mental health problems and who experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. A number of individuals who have participated in the residential program have expressed that having access to affordable, safe and healthy food options has not been a consistent opportunity. When VSP became a “Food Rescuer” in the late winter it allowed the residents in our program to have greater access to fresh and nutritious food.
Residential Staff have been able to support residents in learning cooking skills, offer food when they have none and encourage them to make more meals as a group. After rescuing food we store it in common spaces that allow individuals to take it on a need be basis. The rescued food is able to be claimed by the residents for independent use, or have been used in group meals on holidays. A number of individuals in the program receive financial assistance and have experienced difficulties stretching their monthly income throughout the month. Individuals have shared that having access to perishable foods has been a great supplement to what they receive when needing to access food bank services, allowing them to cook healthy balanced meals.
FoodRescue.ca has allowed CMHA-SM to be able to support the individuals in our VSP home with access to meals and food that we have not been able to provide in the past. With the success of the Food Rescue program in our VSP location, CMHA-SM will be expanding the program to help individuals in our other housing locations, including our Moonlight Home, Harm Reduction Home, and Fairview Heights complex