Food In the News…

Huffington Post: Polar Vortex and Food Stamp Cuts Create Perfect Storm of Hunger

BBC: The Rise of the Part-Time Vegans

World Food Programme: Global Leaders From Business and Civil Society Sign Zero Hunger Challenge at Davos

City News: St Mike’s Teams Up With George Brown to Offer Patients Local Food

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Updated Winter Volunteer Application

Queen’s Soul Food is still looking for drivers to help us complete our nightly cafeteria runs! Applications can be downloaded here: Updated Soul Food Volunteer Application January 2014
They are due by Friday January 24th at 11.59 pm and should be sent to volunteers.soulfood@gmail.com.

Drivers are integral to the work that Soul Food Seeks to accomplish with our community partners. Every night, a team of volunteers is assigned to a specific cafeteria. With your fellow volunteers (a party that includes a driver), you collect the food from the cafeteria and drive it over to Dawn House Shelter, Ryandale Shelter, In From the Cold Shelter, or the Kingston Youth Shelter. At the shelter, you collect the washed pans and bring them back to the cafeteria. Runs generally take no more than 30 minutes, and help shelters significantly reduce their expenses — sometimes by up to 60%! If you are not scheduled for a regular shift, but on our “On Call” list, we would contact you to ask you to cover a shift should one of our regularly scheduled volunteers not be available.

If you have a car, please consider getting involved in the fight against hunger here in Kingston! Fill out an application with your nightly availability, and make a difference in your community!

Reflecting on Awareness Week

In the spirit of the new year, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on this past semester, specifically the highlights of Awareness Week: a week-long event to raise student awareness of hunger and poverty which took place in mid-November. Thanks to the support and enthusiasm of students and community members, it was a great success!

The week kicked off with our What Do YOU Know About Poverty event during which people passing through the ARC took a moment to reflect on issues of food insecurity and poverty by writing down a question or fact that troubled, interested or inspired them. Check out the photos for a peek at what happened! Many of these insightful questions demonstrate a community eager to learn more about the causes of hunger, to challenge systemic barriers to food security, and to take action against poverty.

Our final event of the week was the educational forum: A City with Two Faces: Income Disparity and Food Insecurity in Kingston, with guest lecturer Dr. Melanie Bedore, to whom we owe a big thanks! Our discussions centered on the immediate realities of poverty here in Kingston.

Dr Bedore contextualized the current socio-economic landscape of Kingston as the product of this city’s historical and geographical past. She explained how urban settlement patterns in Kingston have long been predicated on employment type and income level, thereby producing and entrenching districts segregated by wealth. For many of us, this discussion underscored how a critical awareness of this divisive geography is necessary towards ensuring the health of our community as a whole.

Dr. Bedore also offered a well researched presentation on the disturbing statistics of food insecurity, citing that 19.2% of Kingston residents live in poverty, and upwards of 25% of families in the Rideau Heights area north of Princess Street have been at one point reliant on food assistance programs.

Collectively, we grappled with the limitations and challenges posed by the average monthly budget of a family of four, and the way in which food quality or quantity is often degraded and sacrificed to pay for other inflexible necessities such as rent or heat. According to the most recent Kinston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health estimates, healthy, nutritious food for a family of 4 cost $805.33 per month. As one forum participant noted, this number represents a tight daily allowance of only $6.70 per day to feed each family member. Dr. Bedore supplemented our understanding of this budgeting exercise using data she collected from her own survey of Rideau heights food consumption patterns. She noted that at the time they were questioned, 16% of respondents had not purchased fresh fruit or vegetables for at least two weeks, consumer decisions that Dr. Bedore suggests were likely delimited by budget.

Please start looking forward to our next awareness forum The Promise of At Risk Youth: The Impact of Poverty on Youth Success in School and in Communities. Featuring guest speaker Daren Dougall, executive director of Youth Diversion, the event will be held on January 23rd from 6-7pm in JDUC 351! For more info, check out the facebook event here! https://www.facebook.com/events/684757898213052/

Soul Food Volunteer Applications for Winter 2014!

Thank you so much for your interest in Queen’s Soul Food! We had a great past semester, and we’re looking for both new and returning volunteers who want to get involved in the struggle to combat poverty and food insecurity here in Kingston! There are a couple of different ways you can volunteer with us, and the application for all of them can be downloaded here: Soul Food Volunteer Application January 2014
Applications are due Friday January 17th by 11:59 PM and should be sent to volunteers.soulfood@gmail.com.

Here is a little bit more information on the different ways you could get involved with Queen’s Soul Food:

Cafeteria Runs: Every night, a team of volunteers is assigned to a specific cafeteria. With your fellow volunteers (a party that includes a driver), you collect the food from the cafeteria and take it to Dawn House Shelter, Ryandale Shelter, In From the Cold Shelter, or the Kingston Youth Shelter. At the shelter, you collect the washed pans and bring them back to the cafeteria. Runs generally take no more than 30 minutes, and help shelters significantly reduce their expenses — sometimes by up to 60%. If you are not scheduled for a regular shift, but on our “On Call” list, we would contact you to ask you to cover a shift should one of our regularly scheduled volunteers not be available.

Martha’s Table: Martha’s Table is a restaurant-style soup kitchen located on Princess Street about 10 minutes walk away from campus. Volunteers have the opportunity to work as servers, dishwashers, food-preparers, and more. Shifts last about three hours, and all volunteers have the chance to sit down and eat with everyone at the end of the day. Martha’s Table is a wonderfully supportive community!

Awareness Committee: Once a semester, Soul Food runs a week-long event to raise awareness about poverty and food insecurity in Kingston generally, and about our role on campus in particular. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers who would be willing to lend a hand, so please check the box if you are interested!

Make sure to get your volunteer applications in by Friday January 17th by 12:59pm! You can like our Facebook page Queen’s Soul Food, and follow us on Twitter @QueensUSoulFood to keep engaged and up to date on everything we’re doing! We look forward to working with you soon.