In 2012, the Anglican Parish of St. Michael in Canmore facilitated a community discussion on poverty. Despite being seen as a wealthy community, the high cost of living has resulted in varied manifestations of poverty within the Bow Valley, one of which is the lack of food security. From the discussion, a collaborative effort was born between St. Michael and other local churches and community groups beginning in February 2013 to provide a weekly meal called Food & Friends.
Food & Friends is open to absolutely everyone at no cost, and provides a nourishing, filling meal every Monday evening. Each meal consists of a homemade soup, an entree, a salad or two, veggies and dip, cheese and pickles and an abundance of dessert. The meals take palce at St. Michael's hall and are cooked in its kitchen. However, it would be a mistake to call this anything other than a community initiative. To date individuals have assisted from every walk of life, and volunteers are provided on a rotating schedule from 6 churches of different denominations, local community sevice clubs, youth social justicce clubs from both the Public and Catholic Schools and many more. Funding or in-kind support are provided by patrons who are able to put money in the basket on the dessert table, individual donations, grants from Rotary and the Lions Club, the Bow Valley Food Bank, 100 Women Who Care, Crossway Thrift Store, Farm Box, St. Michael's, Save On Foods and a number of other local businesses.
Since Food & Friends inception it has served over 53,000 dinners! More remarkably, each quarter over quarter see a continuous growth in number of dinners served. Since the beginning of 2019, each Monday night sees an average of 340 dinners served. Are all of these people hungry? Yes, but not necessarily only for food. Some patrons are clearly lacking food due to limited resources, but others are hungry in different ways...seniors seeking an affordable outing together, young workers away from home looking for a home cooked meal, those that are lonesome and in desperate need for fellowship, young families who need a break from cooking, old timers looking for that community feel they cherished from days gone past, and the list goes on.
If you would like to find our more about this initiative, lessons learned and key elements needed for success.....feel free to contact Rev. Sean Krausert (Deacon) at firstname.lastname@example.org