Contributed by Blake Keidan. Not being able to afford food on the table or a roof over your head is a stress that no Canadian should have to suffer. While there is a national strategy to reduce Canadian poverty by 50%, organizations like the CRC | Regent Park Community Food Centre are integral to providing much needed local support to families and individuals while that strategy is realized.
In addition to providing 55,000 nutritious and delicious meals each year to low-income individuals, skill training programs, and supported community housing, CRC organizes events that foster community engagement. One of their most prominent is the Taste of Regent Park, a weekly family-friendly summer festival that celebrates the diverse food and culture of Regent Park, while cultivating economic opportunity for talented community members.
Families can take advantage of the affordable produce market, pay-what-you-can community meal, goods from local vendors, entertainment, and much more at this event.
But planning and operating such events take time and resources. And a little extra help can make a huge difference. That’s why for the past three years CRC has hired local youths through the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs program, a grant that helps organizations with wage subsidies for young people. Bringing a youthful energy to the atmosphere, the hired youths are a welcome addition and become valued team members for projects like Taste of Regent Park. And, they are able to build on-the-job skills to support their education in the areas of community work, housing, communications and urban agriculture. Like Farihah, who says she learned so much more about her own community while planning and helping run Taste of Regent Park. Or Ashah, who says she gained invaluable practical experience working in CRC’s Drop-in program, to take into her social work studies at Ryerson University. And the CRC is able to continue providing its much relied upon services to the community.