Food Bank, Westside students to prepare meals for community

December 7, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

The Orangeville Food Bank (OFB) is partnering with students and staff from theWestside Hospitality Program to provide freshly made meals, give the students experience in food preparation, and some insight to the need in the community.

This new partnership with Westside means the OFB is able to divert surplus food items to the school where students every Thursday morning, under the supervision of Baking Instructor Nicole Leclair, Chefs Mark Wilson and Adam Lucko, will convert the items into ready-to-eat meals and baked goods.

“This amazing partnership really came about when the school approached us about a Community Connected Experiential Learning grant that would provide some much needed shelves for produce to be built for us by the students,” explained OFB executive director Heather Hayes. “The conversation lead to a tour and inquiries about the amount of boxed dry pasta we had, and the rest is history.”

Some of the meals include turkey dinners, rotini with meat sauce, chili with rice and beans, tuna cakes with rice, cabbage rolls, and cranberry oatmeal bars.

Earlier this year, as part of the Food Bank’s winter fundraising program, Coldest Night Of The Year, students from the hospitality program made and helped serve chili and soup to participants in the walk, and will continue the support for next year’s fundraiser.

“We are dedicated to helping and giving back to our community,” said Ms. LeClair. “I honestly did not expect the program to become such a big hit. It’s important that students understand that many people face challenges and if we can help by providing them with a nutritious meal than we are more than happy to do so.”

During the four months the program has existed, students have so far prepared 3326 meals. Each meal is enough for two or more servings, is labelled with a list of the ingredients, the production date, and if necessary, preparation instructions.

Ms. Hayes added the program has been going really well, and is hopeful the program can be extended during the summer months in 2019 through a summer school and co-op program. “It is a win for everyone.”

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