GCF Grant Stories J.O.E. & Helper Bees: Photo of six masked young adults in a kitchen making sandwiches

J.O.E.s and Helper Bees Working Together #GCFGrantStories

Today in our #GCFGrantStories series, we feature Community Grant recipients Church of the Apostles’ Helper Bees and the Jobs. Opportunities. Enterprise. (J.O.E.) Program. They received funding for their ongoing emergency food program and are a shining example of fantastic charitable collaboration!

The Helper Bees program began in spring of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program prepares meals for its community partner, Your Downtown Guelph Friends, on Fridays and Sundays. The J.O.E. Program focuses on innovative, community-based employment and job training for adults with developmental disabilities.

With funding from GCF’s Community Grant, the Helper Bees and the J.O.E. participants worked together for a year producing meals. They prepared over 6,000 sandwiches with ingredients sourced by Community FEWD from the Seed and the Guelph Food Bank. An astonishing amount, approximately 1000 kilograms, of food waste was diverted into making the sandwiches!

The food was distributed throughout downtown Guelph by J.O.E. participants and Your Downtown Guelph Friends. Participants also helped distribute hygiene products and grocery bags of food.

This collaboration led to a partnership between the J.O.E. Program and the Guelph Tool Library. J.O.E. participants help to sort and display clothing at the Circular Store, as well as learn skills related to customer service.

Additionally, J.O.E participants helped with the outreach program that supported families impacted by the fire at 52 Wyndham Street. On April 29, 2023, those affected by the fire were driven to several locations, including the Circular Store. The J.O.E participants helped set up a pop-up shop with clothing and household goods donated by the community.

Lastly, the J.O.E participants acted as greeters and baristas for the Winter 2023 Living Better on Less Program session.

“Thank you for the opportunity to work at the Church of the Apostles. The kitchen workspace was very helpful, and we got so many sandwiches done that went to wonderful folks who needed them,” said Nathan, a member of the J.O.E. Program.

We love seeing organizations coming together to do great things for this community, congratulations to all!

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