Food Security

Today in Edmonton perinatal, pregnant and post-partum women in immigrant and refugee communities are experiencing high and persistent levels of food insecurity. Often access to the Edmonton’s Food Bank (EFB) is inhibited by a lack of transportation, language barriers, unfamiliarity with many mainstream food products, and other factors.

MCHB is spearheading the Grocery Run Program because many of our clientele are food insecure or in emergency food crisis. This means that families lack same-day food, and are unable to feed their children and other family members. It’s a fact that there is a problem of how food is distributed within our system.  It’s true that roughly 30 to 40% of the food we produce today gets thrown out, and families accessing food is more a problem of a lack of income.  This Grocery Run program allows us to provide a stop-gap measure while giving time for brokers and families to search for long-term solutions to poverty.

What is food security?

Food security, as defined by the City of Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy, is “Physical and economic access by all people at all times to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active, healthy life. Food security includes at a minimum the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods (approximately 2,000 kilocalorie/day/capita); and an assured ability to acquire foods in socially acceptable ways (e.g. without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies).

For many families at MCHB, food insecurity is linked inextricably to low-income. Low-income is perpetuated by social and economic inequalities that MCHB is attempting to ameliorate.

Why is culturally relevant food important?

Food is a reflection of identity, and many families feel as though being able to partake in food that reflects their heritage to be an integral part of participating in and expressing one’s culture. It can also be an important touch stone for immigrant and refugee families, who find themselves in an unfamiliar place.


TO MAKE A FOOD DONATION

Anyone who wishes to donate can get in touch with our Community Resource Coordinator

(sngo @ ualberta.ca or 780-423-1973) to arrange donation drop-offs or pick-ups.


Frequently Asked Questions about the MCHB Grocery Run Program

Who can donate food to the MCHB Grocery Run Program?

Anyone who wishes to donate safe to eat, healthy food is more than welcome to. The Charitable Food Donation Act waives any potential liability from a donor as long as the food is considered safe for human consumption

What happens to the food?

Upon receiving the food, it is immediately brought to the MCHB main office. From there, it is either stored for less than 24 hours or rapidly distributed to families who are in need. Many of these families are lacking same-day food, are recent arrivals who are awaiting paperwork processing, or some tragically have experienced some kind of traumatic event.

What if there isn’t enough food?

If there is a food shortage, then it means that many families must go without, unfortunately. We have had to turn families away once food has run out. Brokers at MCHB will also step in to assist families, and we have heard stories of Brokers paying out of their own pockets to help families.

What happens to extra food- or is there ever any?

Having extra food at a grocery run is rare, but any leftovers from the first day will be gone by the second day. That is because MCHB serves over 2,200 families per year and there is a great need for healthy food among our clients.

Perishables or non-perishables?

We can take both perishable and non-perishable foods. Because we distribute food so quickly, almost none of it is ever thrown out during a grocery run.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

You can get in touch with our Community Resource Coordinator(sngo @ ualberta.ca or 780-423-1973).