Fatuma Khalif is an Enhanced Lifeskills Facilitator with Global Gathering Place who works very closely with our most vulnerable clients. The clients she supports are brand new to the country and are trying to learn to budget their meagre funds but Fatuma has noticed the money they receive doesn’t always cover basic needs, especially as the cost of living continues to increase. “With the current food prices rising, our clients have to make sacrifices on what to buy. For instance, I had a family that had to choose between winter clothing and food. Luckily, we were able to provide a gift card,” Fatuma said, “This is not the only family; we have clients coming here multiple times a month because they have no money and are in need of food and other basic needs.”
When asked how prevalent food insecurity is among our LifeSkills clients, Fatuma said it is ubiquitous: “All our LifeSkills clients experience food insecurity.” She noted that many of them use the local food bank, but food banks have been experiencing unprecedented demand in recent months which has reduced the amount of food they’re able to provide and our clients find the food they do get unfamiliar. “Whatever they get from the foodbank doesn’t last two weeks and it is not enough. To add to it, there is not culturally appropriate foods at the foodbank. The only option left in this case is to buy such foods and if there is no money, they have to restrict their diet,” Fatuma said.
We are very grateful to partnerships that allow us to address food insecurity in our client base. Our work with Second Harvest is one such partnership. Second Harvest is a nonprofit food rescue organization that redirects surplus food to those in need. They facilitate a biweekly donation of bread and buns from a Cobs Bread location in Lawson Heights. Every second Thursday, clients can come by and pick-up a bread bag for their family. This is one example of small actions that add up, making all the difference in the lives of our clients.
It’s hard to believe but the holiday season is already upon us. For many of