Each year, The Guelph Community Foundation invites requests for funding from charitable organizations within Guelph and Wellington County. Charitable organizations deliver the services and champion the causes that make our community thrive. Whether it is recreation opportunities for children, meals for the hungry, end of life care, or culture for the soul, our not-for-profit sector makes it all happen. The Foundation has funded projects and initiatives that help to strengthen the development of a vital and healthy community.
Guelph and Wellington’s Vital Signs, a report card produced by The Foundation, helps to better inform our granting through its indicator data. The report indicates where our community is doing well and where improvement is needed. Priority issues that have emerged include the growing gap between the rich and poor and the high unemployment rate affecting our community. Families who experience challenges associated with poverty contend with many issues including food security, lack of affordable housing and income instability. In 2009, the Foundation committed to a program called Building Vital Communities which focused its granting on poverty reduction, prevention and alleviation.
The Food Project … see it on YouTube
A $32,400 grant from The Guelph Community Foundation allowed Family and Children Services of Guelph & Wellington County to fund part-time coordinators to work with six unique neighbourhood groups where hunger and food security are pressing issues. The neighbourhood groups of Brant, Waverly, Two Rivers, Parkwood Gardens, West Willow Woods, and Grange Hill East were able to establish partnerships and support volunteers to work together to ensure that more people with few resources had access to healthy food.
The Food Project has increased the effectiveness of each neighbourhood group’s food cupboard, organized food drives, secured land to plant community gardens, helped people access a Garden Fresh Box and initiated collective kitchens. “The ability to have one person dedicated to this work for one day a week seems to have been the tipping point to getting this work the focus it needed”, stated Daniel Moore, Executive Director of Family & Children and Services.
The Waverly Neighbourhood Group’s collective kitchen doubled the number of participants and even hosted a youth collective kitchen that proved to be fun and inspiring. Collective kitchens are places where a group of people select recipes, purchase groceries, share the food preparation/cooking and divide up economical and nutritious meals. Unrestricted community funds allow The Foundation the greatest flexibility to respond to initiatives like The Food Project – to provide healthy food for everyone.