The Healthy Fresh Food program, funded by the United Way, enables our organization to purchase more fresh dairy, fruits and vegetables for members of our Food Bank. It also enables us to provide specific dietary food items to supplement the monthly grocery needs of our Food Bank clients.
The program has allowed us to provide our members with the knowledge, skills and products that help them improve their family’s health and well-being. One good example of this is Gordon and Kaye’s story.*(names changed to protect confidentiality) Kaye is a single mom to Gordon, who was on a destructive path through his extremely unhealthy dietary choices.
Gordon was told by his family doctor that if he continued on the same path of consuming high-fat and high sodium foods, that he would have serious health issues in the near future. Kaye tried to persuade him to make some minor changes to his diet but all fell on deaf ears. It wasn’t until she shared her concerns with the United Way funded program that a strategy was devised to motivate Gordon to take a leap of faith and make those important changes needed to improve his health.
We took Gordon on as a kitchen volunteer. He was introduced to our kitchen chef and as a result, he became his kitchen assistant. In this role Gordon came to see another world of dietary possibilities through spices and flavours foreign to him. It was a challenge for Gordon but, over time, acceptance crept in and Gordon started to make small, measured changes to his dietary lifestyle.
Gordon still has a ways to go, but we do believe that if it wasn’t for this United Way funded program, Gordon would not have been given the opportunity to break free of unhealthy habits and attempt to make a significant change to his diet and to his health.
At United Way, we believe that every person in every community deserves the opportunities, access, and connections they need to build a good life — regardless of their income, the neighbourhood they live in, or their social identity.
When people are financially stable, they aren’t worried about their next meal, how they’re going to pay their rent, or whether they’ll be able to afford a coat for their kids. They can focus on enjoying life, being a great parent, and giving back to the community.