For thirty years, SIRCH Community Services has had a mission. As needs in the community become apparent, especially gaps and issues affecting those most vulnerable, SIRCH often develops and implements programs to help.
One of these needs identified is for enough healthy food during challenging times.
According to Statistics Canada, 17.2 per cent of Haliburton County households are considered low income. In fact, Haliburton County has the second highest level of low income households in all of Ontario. This means many households struggle with putting food on the table. Parents may go without meals to feed their kids. Seniors’ fridges may be empty. Food insecurity affects health and brain development.
Through initiatives like Community Kitchen, SIRCH tries to make those tough times easier.
“It’s important to have foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy,” said Jay McIvor, SIRCH’s Food Initiatives Coordinator. “Many individuals and families in the county really can’t afford nutritious food when they’re struggling to pay bills or when they’re ill. One of the ways SIRCH is working on this issue is through the Community Kitchen,”
In the Community Kitchen, volunteers make healthy meals that are then distributed through local food banks and community agencies.
“Last year, the Community Kitchen made 3,600 meals for local residents,” said Jay. “Many people are unaware that SIRCH’s Community Kitchen receives no funding from government. Without the generous support of donors, we’d be unable to operate.”
Ken Mott of the Wilberforce Food Bank has seen the effects of Community Kitchen meals first hand. “Our clients really appreciate the food prepared by SIRCH’s Community Kitchen. The food bank’s clients often struggle to access nutritional food, so SIRCH’s efforts to provide meals that are tasty and nutritious makes a huge difference to people’s lives. Keep up the good work!”
As a non-profit charitable organization, SIRCH relies on the financial contributions of individuals and local businesses to help accomplish its mission. Each fall, SIRCH launches Gifts from the Heart as its community fundraiser.
“This is the eighth year of SIRCH’s Gifts from the Heart campaign,” said SIRCH Board President, Barbara Fawcett. “While the campaign has evolved and grown over that time, ultimately it’s about supporting a local organization that works in the local community for the betterment of local residents.”
To contribute to this year’s Gifts from the Heart campaign, visit www.sirch.on.ca/gifts or phone 705-457-1742. You can also visit SIRCH’s offices Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., located at 49 Maple Avenue, unit 4, Haliburton, to make a donation in person.