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ADVISORY: Ottawa Food Bank makes healthy changes for community food programs with launch of new Health Smart initiative

Food swap outs made with to ensure the best outcomes for families and individuals

(Ottawa) The Ottawa Food Bank will invest over $400,000 annually to improve the health outcomes of people who depend on emergency food services. The new Health Smart is an initiative that will provide more nutritious food for people, by providing healthier staple items and investing more in protein and milk.
With the help of Ottawa Public Health, the Ottawa Food Bank has done a complete review of the food items they purchase and distribute. Based on the findings, and with feedback from their community food programs, the Ottawa Food Bank made substantial changes to ensure lower fat, sodium, and sugar content, and increased protein and fibre.
Additionally, for the first time in its history, the Ottawa Food Bank has invested in purchasing milk to ensure more can be distributed. Community food banks will also receive an increase of ground beef, and fish has been added as a new protein source.
Through their community food programs, the Ottawa Food Bank provides for 41,540 people every month. Research shows a clear link between diet and mental and physical well being. To ensure children and adults have an opportunity to reach their full potential, the Ottawa Food Bank is making a commitment to this important investment to help the most vulnerable in the community.
This new Health Smart program confirms the Ottawa Food Bank’s promise to ensuring everyone in the community has access to healthy and nutritious food.
PHOTO AND INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY
What:   Ottawa Food Bank’s Health Smart Launch to demonstrate changes made for Ottawa’s emergency food assistance programs
When: Thursday, June 15, 2017, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Where: Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard, 2040 Arrowsmith Drive (at Jasmine)
Who:     Michael Maidment, Executive Director, Ottawa Food Bank
Erin O’Manique, Executive Director, Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard
Gillian Connelly, Manager, Health Promo & Disease Prevention, Ottawa Public Health
QUOTES:
“The primary focus of the Health Smart initiative is to make more nutritious food available to people who are assisted by an emergency food program in Ottawa” said Michael Maidment, executive director of the Ottawa Food Bank. “We understand that healthy nutritious meals are rare for families struggling with food insecurity – this program and this historic investment will change that for thousands of people every day”.
“We are delighted to be partnering with the Ottawa Food Bank on the Health Smart initiative to provide healthier food choices for people in need in Ottawa,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health. “It is important that healthy public policy leads to good and nourishing food in the kitchens and on the tables of all Ottawa residents, regardless of income.”
“We prioritize offering healthy choices but having to purchase them in the quantities required can be very challenging. Support from the Ottawa Food Bank, and especially the Health Smart Program, enables us to meet the needs of the families who need our help,” said Erin O’Manique, Program Coordinator of the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard.

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For further information, please contact:
Samantha Ingram
Communications Coordinator, Ottawa Food Bank
613-322-6367
About the Ottawa Food Bank
The Ottawa Food Bank is the main emergency food provider in the National Capital Region. Through a network of approximately 112 community food programs, the Ottawa Food Bank provides food for over of 41,500 people per month – 36 per cent of whom are children. Thanks to the community’s support, on average 12 to 14 tons of food is distributed from their Michael Street warehouse every weekday. For more information regarding the Ottawa Food Bank and how you can help get your neighbours beyond hunger, please visit www.ottawafoodbank.ca
About Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) provides public health programs and services to individuals and communities while advocating for public policies that make our city and its residents healthier. OPH is a teaching health unit and works with all post secondary educational institutions in the area.
About Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard
Serving a wide demographic of clients, the GEFC has been providing for their community for over 25 years offering food assistance to people whose budgets won’t stretch far enough to meet all their family’s needs in a given month. The GEFC provides for approximately 2,000 people every month, with 45 per cent being under the age of 18.

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