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Hunger Action Month: Member Agency Spotlight #3

DID YOU KNOW…

The main function of the Ottawa Food Bank is to assist 112 emergency food programs across the city. These programs are our (FANTASTIC!) member agencies.

We help our member agency network by providing them with food and supplies, grant and training opportunities, and support.

It is through these hard-working agencies that we collectively help to provide food and supplies for over 39,000 people every month.

During Hunger Action Month, we’d like to shine a spotlight on some of the fantastic programs who work so hard to help their community. Care Centre Ottawa a fantastic example of one of our member agencies who do so much to help their visitors.

Introducing: Care Centre Ottawa

Care Centre Ottawa began operations in January of 2017 and served 27 families.  Since then, they have experienced a consistent, steady increase in the number of families receiving their services, and now during the current pandemic they serve over 600 families each month.

Regardless of how many people walk through their doors, it is important to them that each guest feels valued and cared for right from the start.

Pre-Covid they operated two branches of the Care Centre:

Emergency Relief

Their Marketplace, is a full choice food pantry and clothing depot where guests are able to select items they and their family need and enjoy. While waiting for their turn to shop, guests can get a sense of community while spending time along with volunteers sharing a meal in their Care Café.

Capacity Building Services

Care Centre Ottawa offers a variety of classes including:
– Cooking on a budget
– Open kitchen
– Conversational English circles
– Employment and counseling services

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, they quickly shifted their focus to Emergency Food Bank services. They saw a sharp increase in the number of guests utilizing their services, from 220 families in February to over 600 families on the average every month since then.

To accommodate for this growth, they transformed the gym of Bethel Church into a warehouse for receiving and processing donations and for preparing Care Boxes. Since they could no longer serve guests inside they pivoted and began using a drive-thru model to avoid any disruption in service. This helped to reduce the risk of exposure to guests, staff, and volunteers while also allowing them to continue to visit and maintain relationships from a distance.

A look at Care Centre Ottawa's hard work

Please join us in thanking Care Centre Ottawa for all they do. They have taken on so much during the pandemic, and have come up with innovative solutions to continue caring for their clients while staying safe. THANK YOU!

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