The Regional Food Distribution Association (RFDA) is the designated hub for charitable food distribution, representing Food Banks Canada and the Ontario Association of Food Banks in Northwestern Ontario. Their Opportunity Kitchens program, which is funded in part by donations to the United Way, is designed to deliver opportunities for food related education, socializing, job skills training and volunteering. Activities under this program elevate the quality of life of those that need a little more tender loving care, supportive intervention or life skills assistance while generating additional nutritious food into the emergency food system. Individuals re-engage with community in RFDA kitchens, feed themselves and/or have an opportunity to learn and serve others.
One of the Opportunity Kitchens participants is using the RFDA facility as an entrepreneur. Delores’ products are sold at the local country market in order to supplement her inadequate pension. She is an incredibly dedicated and professional senior that takes pride in her craft. She has become an important part of the RFDA community, in addition to caring for her own family members and a partner with failing health. In exchange for using the facility to create her products, Delores in turn volunteers her time and expertise to train other RFDA volunteers, young teens, and groups from local businesses looking for team building opportunities. She exemplifies the principle, that working together we can change poverty to possibility. “Not only does the kitchen at the RFDA help me with my business, but the RFDA staff and volunteers have been like a second family to me, and the sense of camaraderie is wonderful. I love that I also get a chance to give back by volunteering my time and expertise to help others learn skills and be a part of this community.” she says. Many have benefited from her gift of life experience, patience, and understanding. As a mentor in the RFDA kitchen, Delores is a part of their ‘giving a hand up’ philosophy.
The Regional Food Distribution Association is located at 570 South Syndicate Avenue and can be reached at 622-7440