Anglicans in Action Helping Families One Meal at a Time

Volunteers assemble the meal kits.
 on March 28, 2024

What started in May 2020 by a concerned group of Anglicans to help address the growing issue of food insecurity in Niagara has evolved into a program that, as of the end of 2023, has helped feed almost 180,000 people. The Anglicans in Action Meal Kit Program provides family and single meal kits to Community Care in St. Catharines and Thorold. The initial response was thought to be short term in nature, but the reality is the need is there and increasing.

The Family Meal Kit consists of a recipe and the required food items for a nutritious meal to feed a family of four. The Single Meal Kit consists of healthy meal options that include a protein item and a variety of crackers, granola bar, fruit cup/pudding, cookies, drink and spoon & napkin. The single meal kits are intended for individuals who do not have access to cooking facilities.The goal is to provide a nutritious and inexpensive meal and the included recipe is a helpful tool for families on a tight budget.

Teams of volunteers, working through five Anglican churches, purchase groceries, assemble kits and deliver them to Community Care. The meal kits are distributed by Community Care in St. Catharines and Thorold. Currently, two hundred and eighteen family and ninety-eight single meal kits are delivered to Community Care each week. Every meal kit is packed with loving care.

Funds to purchase food items have been made available through grants and private donations. The program has had the fortune of receiving grants from the Branscombe Family Foundation, the United Way, Ecclesiastical Insurance and the Diocese of Niagara. Private donations from individuals in Anglican parishes as well as the broader community have greatly contributed to the ability of this program to continue. Projected costs to continue providing Community Care with meal kits at the current number are $134,000 for 2024. Thankfully our volunteer teams are very good at shopping sales so while the projected costs average $8.00/kit, the actual cost can be slightly less. Some of the funds for 2024 have been secured through the generosity of the Branscombe Family Foundation, the United Way, the Diocese of Niagara, and private donations. The two administrators of the program continue to work to find other sources of funding.

When the meal kit program started, early in the Covid-19 pandemic, teams worked on their own due to the gathering restrictions set by public health. It is important to this group to remember that we are working as a community, supporting those in our community that are in need. As time has gone on and gathering restrictions eased, some teams continue to work from their homes while other teams are working from their churches. Recently two teams began working side by side at the same location further supporting the idea that we are a community supporting community. As a member of one of those teams, I think the coffee and chat afterwards is as uplifting as the work!

What is the future of the Niagara Anglicans in Action Meal Kit Program? It is evident that the need is there and the kits are appreciated by the clients of Community Care. Not only are they receiving a meal that has been prepared with love and intention, the meal kits provide an example of a meal they could create on their own with basic and inexpensive ingredients. The future of the program is tied directly to the commitment of our volunteers and to securing the funds to purchase the groceries.

If you would like more information about the Anglicans in Action Meal Kit Program, please email [email protected]

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