When people ask me “why” Stratford needs a Community Food Centre, I tell them:

Every city and town needs a Community Food Centre!

People don’t ask “why” a community “needs” a library, or a YMCA: they have become recognized as important community assets that all citizens should have access to. We believe that food is a basic human right, and envision a time when all people in all communities have enough safe, good, quality food to have a healthy life.

A little while ago I received a letter from a community member that I feel perfectly expresses the importance and relevance of establishing resources like the one we are creating here in Stratford. So please consider these heartfelt words as the ultimate endorsement of the work we are looking to do:

[quote]This initiative is very dear to me as I am a young single mother of two young children and a proud member of the Stratford/Perth community for 25 years; I live on a low income with every intention of raising my children with whole, local, and organic foods. I am no stranger to food banks and other community programs as I have been in need of these to survive. I recognize the lack of fresh and healthy foods when I go to the food banks and I usually end up almost empty handed because I do not want to feed my children processed foods. It is frustrating and challenging to shop at local organic grocers as my budget will not sustain my family on the health foods I need. I find a healthy balance between what we need and what I can afford. I know first-hand the desperation of well-informed low income families and I recognize the need to inform others of how to create a healthy and happy lifestyle on a low budget.[/quote]

But what I found most impressive about this letter was that it was not just a letter of support, it also expressed her desire to volunteer and help inspire others to share in her love for good food:

[quote]I want to give back to my community by sharing the wealth of information I have been learning and continue to learn! I want to have the opportunity to help others make informed decisions and enrich their lives.[/quote]

Whenever I need to be reminded of “Why” we are creating The Local Community Food Centre here in Stratford, I’m just going to remember this letter.