Silvercreek Community Market is an outreach program of All Saints Lutheran Anglican Church, which is located in an area of Guelph with considerable needs. What makes our market different from other emergency food providers in the city is that our main focus is on providing fresh produce. These are more nutritious than canned items but also more expensive to purchase. Most other emergency food banks offer only canned and other dry goods. Also, our foods appeal to the cooking styles that many of our newcomer families enjoy. For example, kale, okra, and ginger are very popular! We also support some indigenous fam-ilies and residents of an assisted living community.
Recognizing that food security is a concern for many people, All Saints began a free, choice-based, fresh food market in 2017 to help the community access healthy, nutritious fruits and vegetables year-round. Anyone is welcome to attend, and there is no eligibility requirement although we try to “keep it to the neighbourhood”.
We purchase fruits, vegetables , and eggs, in partnership with The SEED (a program of the Guelph Community Health Centre). They buy food at the Ontario Food Terminal and sell it to us at wholesale prices. We also receive donated frozen meat through The SEED and donations of bread through the generosity of COBS bakery.
We hold two markets every month, on the first and third Thursday afternoons. We do distribute some non-perishable items at each market. We collect these every week within the congregation. St. Joseph’s RC Church holds food drives for us three to four times a year as well, which usually brings in about a thousand pounds of food each time. Local businesses and other groups have also held food drives, as well as giving us cash donations. We are very blessed to have this community support.
We keep our list of nonperishable items small so as to have enough for each family. That’s at least 60 jars of peanut butter, or boxes of cereal, etc. We also rotate through these items because they can weigh a lot along with the fresh produce. Our “most wanted” items are: Breakfast cereal, peanut butter, pasta and pasta sauce, canned meat/fish, canned legumes (i.e., chickpeas, lentils, etc.) but not brown beans (not a part of the cuisine of our clientele), rice, whole red lentils, cooking oils. We deliver any left-over foods after each market to ‘238 Willow’, a Guelph Assisted Living building. We also prepare eight hampers a month for local Indigenous families.
In 2022 we provided food for 4,878 individuals, of whom about 40% were children. Now that COVID restrictions are less onerous, Silvercreek Community Market has resumed in-person ‘shopping’. About 60 families attend each market, with an average family size of five. Thus, we assist just over 600 individuals every month in securing healthy fresh food. All Saints carries out this outreach activity because it is part of ‘what we do’ [Matthew 25: 35]. It is a pleasure to serve others in our community.