We're swapping out old purchases with healthier options

We have officially launched Health Smart

Our community food program partners and their clients have begun to see healthier choices in their deliveries as part of our new Health Smart Program. We are committed to investing over $400,000 annually to improve the health outcomes of people who depend on emergency food services.
With the help of Ottawa Public Health, we have done a complete review of the food items we purchase and distribute. Based on the findings, and with feedback from our community food programs, we have made substantial changes to ensure lower fat, sodium, and sugar content, and increased protein and fibre.
Additionally, for the first time in our history, we have invested in purchasing milk to ensure more can be distributed. Community food programs will also receive an increase in quantities of ground beef, and fish has been added as a new protein source.
Finally, we will be extending the period of time that we purchase fruits and vegetables as part of our reFRESH winter produce program. This program ensures we can provide produce to our community food program partners throughout the winter months, when we’re no longer able to harvest from our Community Harvest farming program.
This initiative is less about food and more about the people for whom we provide. This is about the health and well-being of the clients who visit our community food program partners.


8 Responses

  1. Excellent initiative!
    I think my monthly contribution is the best investment I could make in this community!
    I thank and applaud all the people working at the Food Bank!!!

    1. Thank you so much for being a monthly donor, Lyne. Your year-round gift makes a huge difference in the lives of people who require this emergency assistance.

  2. Is this initiative something that the recipients actually want, or are we playing a patronising “we know best” ?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your question. Nothing about this is meant to be “patronizing” in any way. This started with community consultations, which included our community food program partners, who get requests for healthier options often, and who quickly run out of milk, ground beef, and produce – as these are popular items.
      We don’t claim to always know best. We brought in Ottawa Public Health to help guide us on what swaps should be made to help lower things like sodium in the non-perishable items that we purchase.
      So far, this shift has been greatly accepted and appreciated.

  3. Excellent initiative, buying fish (about time!) and fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and yogurt: all wholesome and delicious essentials for a sensible, healthy lifestyle!
    More power to the decision makers in the matter of wise food purchasing!

  4. As a firm believer in the benefits of a plant-based diet, I am happy to hear that the Ottawa Food Bank is increasing the amount of fresh produce offered to its clients. I feel that the produce grown by the food bank’s farm workers is a wonderful and beautiful addition to the diet of users of the Food Bank. I do hope vegetarian and vegan clients will be remembered in the new initiative, by offering such foods as tofu, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds and soy and nut milks, which are so important to those of us who choose to avoid animal protein! Thanks so much for all the Ottawa Food Bank does to improve the lives of many : )

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