“I am so grateful to the Local for empowering me to provide healthy, fresh, local food for my family” – Aleesha’s Story
December 1, 2016
Dear Supporter of the Local Community Food Centre,
My name is Aleesha. I am a mother of a 5 year old son and a 2 year old daughter. Growing up I was not encouraged to cook, so when I found myself responsible for feeding my young family it was very overwhelming and a little scary! Especially since our food budget is pretty tight at times.
The first time I came to the Local Community Food Centre a year and a half ago I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I struggle with diagnosed Generalized Anxiety, and placing myself in new environments with unfamiliar people is a huge challenge. My Family Health Nurse had been bringing us a monthly box of fresh produce sourced from the Local as part of the Health Unit’s “Healthy Babies” program. She strongly recommended I get involved in the “Loving Spoonfuls” cooking class, where young mothers like me learn how to cook healthy, family-friendly food from scratch, even on a tight budget.
What I discovered at the Local was a welcoming, safe space where I could learn how to cook while also making friends with other young mothers like me. My kids have fun playing with other kids during the program, and we have all tried – and loved! – new kinds of healthy food that I never would have expected any of us to enjoy.
However what really changed our life this past year was being able to shop for the fresh, healthy ingredients I need for the recipes I’ve learned at the Local’s new “Community Access Market”. Fruits and veggies have become ridiculously expensive and were sometimes out of reach. But the Community Access Market – which happens on Mondays and Fridays – offers me and other participants at the Local the chance to buy fresh, high quality food at wholesale not-for-profit prices. It’s now my go-to place for food shopping for my family – I love coming to the Monday community dinner with my whole family (which gives me a break from cooking for one night!) and then loading up on produce!!
I am so grateful to The Local for empowering me to provide healthy, fresh local food every day for my family, and for creating a place where we truly feel we belong to a community. That is why I am asking you to consider giving the gift of health, hope and community this holiday season. $10 is enough to pay for a delicious, healthy meal for a family like mine at the Monday night community dinner. $25 supports one shift of the Peer Advocacy Office where community members are empowered to help one another. $100 pays for one week of the Community Access Market where me and other program and meal participants are able to access fresh, healthy, local food at affordable not-for-profit prices. And $1,000 sponsors a full six-week cycle for my favourite cooking program: the Loving Spoonfuls!
By helping to support the services and programs at the Local, you are giving people like me the opportunity to transform their lives. Thank you.