For the first time in two years, in-person community meals return to The North Grove.
We can barely contain our excitement! For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, in-person holiday meals are back. It's been almost three years since community members have gathered in The North Grove's dining room to celebrate the holiday season.
While community meals may have been on hold during the pandemic, The North Grove’s kitchen was still in high gear.
During the pandemic, The North Grove distributed more than 53,000 healthy take-home meals for seniors, families and individuals.
This year, dozens of volunteers will spend hundreds of hours preparing more than 800 holiday meals over the last two weeks of December. These meals come at a time of increasing need in the community.
At least one-third of the people coming to weekly food distribution are new to The North Grove, and the number of people attending our subsidized produce market has doubled over the past several months.
We've also seen an increased demand for family services. Home visiting programs like Parenting Journey now have almost 60 referrals, the highest number of referrals we've seen and it is expected to grow in the final few weeks of the year.
As our Family Programs Coordinator, Sonja Bellefontaine, says "One thing COVID taught us is how valuable it is to have spaces and opportunity to gather and share in our joys and struggles of parenting. It’s about connecting and learning together."
Meals at The North Grove are an opportunity for people to connect with their community and to feel included and supported by their neighbours. Amanda-Lynn Nickerson, The North Grove's Food Skills Facilitator, says that the return of holiday meals is much anticipated.
"Most people just love the idea of coming in and sitting with someone they didn't know before," says Nickerson. "It's this beautiful feeling of everybody being invited and being able to sit down and meet people."
If you would like to contribute to the We Stand Together Matching Campaign, and have your gift matched, click here to donate. Donations received before December 31st, 2021 will be matched up to a total of $50,000.