Frequently Asked Questions

We are delighted to have you here and are committed to providing you with all the information you need to understand our organization and how we work towards building healthy, resilient, and inclusive communities. This page is designed to address the most commonly asked questions about our programs, services, and initiatives. Whether you are a community member, volunteer, donor, or simply curious about our work, we hope this FAQ page will serve as a valuable resource for you. If you have any additional questions or require further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

What is The Local Community Food Centre?

No, The Local Community Food Centre is not a food bank. While both food banks and Community Food Centers share the goal of addressing food insecurity, they operate in different ways to support individuals and families experiencing poverty and food insecurity in our community.

The main difference between a Community Food Centre and a food bank lies in their approach to addressing food insecurity. Food banks primarily focus on emergency food assistance by providing individuals and families with pre-packaged food hampers or bags. Their main goal is to ensure immediate access to food during times of crisis.

On the other hand, Community Food Centres, like The Local, take a more comprehensive and holistic approach. While they do offer limited emergency food support, they also prioritize long-term solutions to food insecurity. Community Food Centres aim to create welcoming spaces that go beyond food provision. They offer community meals, food skills programs, educational workshops, and other resources that empower individuals to develop sustainable food practices and build food-related skills. By fostering a sense of community and offering dignified choices, Community Food Centres address not only the immediate needs of hunger but also work towards eradicating the root causes of food insecurity.

Community Food Centres are not against food banking; in fact, many CFCs began as and still include food banks as part of their programming. However, they complement the work of traditional food banks by offering a more comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing food insecurity.

While food banks primarily focus on emergency food assistance and providing immediate relief to individuals and families facing hunger, Community Food Centres aim to address the root causes of food insecurity and foster long-term solutions. They do this by creating welcoming spaces that go beyond food distribution. Community Food Centres offer a range of programs and services, such as community meals, food skills workshops, educational opportunities, and advocacy efforts, to empower individuals and communities.

Community Food Centres recognize that emergency food assistance is essential in times of crisis, but they also believe in offering more than just the immediate provision of food. They strive to create a dignified and supportive environment where individuals can access nutritious food choices, build food-related skills, and become active participants in their own food security.

By taking a comprehensive approach, Community Food Centres work alongside food banks and other organizations to address food insecurity from multiple angles. They advocate for policies that address poverty and inequality, build relationships with local farmers and producers to source sustainable and locally grown foods, and work towards creating a more equitable and sustainable food system for all. Ultimately, the goal is to empower individuals and communities to move beyond food insecurity and towards a healthier and more resilient future.

Addressing hunger and food insecurity is not just about providing any food available; it is about ensuring that individuals and families have access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food. People experiencing food insecurity deserve to have dignified and respectful choices when it comes to the food they consume.

By focusing on providing nourishing, local, sustainable, and whole foods, organizations like The Local Community Food Centre recognize the importance of promoting health and well-being for everyone in the community. Nutritious food not only sustains physical health but also contributes to mental well-being and overall quality of life.

Additionally, offering food skills programs and educational workshops allows individuals to learn how to cook and prepare healthy meals on a budget, which empowers them to make healthier food choices in the long term. It’s essential to address food insecurity with a comprehensive approach that not only meets immediate needs but also empowers individuals to become more self-sufficient and resilient in the face of food challenges.

By supporting initiatives like Community Food Centres, we can work together as a community to create a more equitable and sustainable food system where everyone has access to the nutritious food they need to thrive.

Do you accept food donations?

As part of our commitment to providing access to nourishing foods, The Local Community Food Centre primarily relies on our major donors, monetary donations from community members and small businesses, and responsible procurement practices to ensure the availability of healthy and sustainable food for our programs. We do not accept individual food donations with the exception of surplus from your own vegetable garden. Instead, we encourage the community to support our efforts through monetary donations or volunteering for regular shifts or special events.

At The Local, we prioritize the provision of fresh, whole, and nutrient-dense foods that align with our mission and values. Individual food donations may not always meet the quality and nutritional standards we aim to maintain in our programs. By focusing on monetary donations, we can purchase nutritious food items in bulk at discounted prices, source fresher and more sustainable foods from local producers, and ensure effective programming by optimizing our onsite storage space and making the most of our staff and volunteers’ limited time and resources.

Monetary donations play a critical role in supporting The Local’s healthy food programs. With the funds raised, we can purchase more food for our programs, especially fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, lean proteins, and other essential whole foods. These donations also allow us to develop food skills and nutritional knowledge throughout our programming and actively advocate for universal healthy food access in our community. Please consider making a donation today!

We appreciate your interest in supporting our programs. When you make a monetary donation, you have the option to contribute to the overall support of our healthy food programs, including community meals, food skills programs, and community Access Markets. Your general donation helps us maintain a consistent supply of nutritious food across all our initiatives, ensuring that everyone in our community can access nourishing meals and food-related education.

Additionally, if you or your business are in a financial position to provide substantial long-term funding and are interested in sponsoring an entire program, we welcome you to contact us. Our Fund Ambassador committee will be delighted to meet with you to discuss potential sponsorship opportunities. Your generous support can have a lasting and meaningful impact on the communities we serve, and we would be honoured to explore this possibility with you. Together, we can work towards a healthier, equitable, and sustainable food system for all.

The Local Community Food Centre adheres to a Food Procurement & Distribution Policy that emphasizes the use of local, sustainable, and whole foods. Our purchasing decisions prioritize nourishing, unprocessed foods that are sourced from within 100 kilometres of Stratford, whenever possible. We are committed to supporting local economies, protecting biodiversity, and avoiding the wasteful use of natural resources to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable food system.

Whole foods are foods that have been minimally processed or refined and are free from additives or other artificial substances. They retain their natural nutrients and are healthier options compared to heavily processed foods. At The Local, we prioritize the procurement and distribution of whole foods to support overall health and wellness among our community members.

We promote sustainability in our food procurement by sourcing food that is produced, processed, distributed, and disposed of in ways that contribute to thriving local economies, protect biodiversity, and reduce our carbon footprint. By supporting local farmers and producers, using sustainable farming practices, and minimizing transportation distances, we aim to minimize the environmental impact of our food supply chain.

To keep our donors informed, we regularly update our website and social media platforms with information about our food procurement priorities and the impacts of our programs. We also have an email database that we use infrequently to inform our community about what’s happening at The Local. We believe in transparency and accountability, and we are committed to providing our supporters with insights into how their contributions are making a difference in our community.