Every year, chefs across Canada devote one evening's service to supporting their neighbours in need.
On Oct. 18, more than a dozen Calgary restaurants will be part of the Restaurants for Change initiative, donating the proceeds to The Alex Community Food Centre (Alex CFC).
"Things happen in life sometimes that we can't control, and sometimes you just need a little help to get back on your feet," says Duncan Ly, chef/owner (with his wife, Wanda Ly) of Foreign Concept, one of the participants in Restaurants for Change.
"It's nice to know that there are places you can turn to, like The Alex Community Food Centre, for support while maintaining your dignity. I believe it's a human right not just to be able to have food but to have good food, as it's essential to our health and wellness."
Located on 17th Avenue S.E. in Forest Lawn, the Alex CFC was built in 2016. It's one of eight community food centres across Canada that provide dignified spaces to cook, grow, advocate and educate, as well as services to address the underlying issues that contribute to food insecurity (lacking sufficient access to affordable, nutritious food).
"Chefs and restaurant owners have been incredible champions for opening the Alex CFC — the first in Alberta — one year ago," says Renee MacKillop, program manager at the Alex.
"In that time, we've served over 10,000 healthy meals, offered over 300 cooking, gardening and education programs, and engaged over 5,000 volunteer-hours to create a community hub that uses the power of food to change lives."
Programs at the Alex include an affordable produce market, free community meals, nutrition education programs and the International Avenue Kitchen, which celebrates our culinary cultures by inviting community members in to share their own food experiences.
"We offer community meals, markets, kids cooking classes, nutrition education, social justice and education programs that increase access to healthy food while building health, hope, skills and belonging," says MacKillop.
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By dining out on Oct. 18, you can help support a fair and healthy food system for all Canadians. More than 90 restaurants are participating in 19 cities across the country.
In Calgary, the restaurants donating dinner proceeds are:
- Alforno Bakery & Cafe
- Cucina Bistro
- The Deane House
- Foreign Concept
- Mill Street Brewpub
- River Cafe
- Royale Brasseries
- The Nash
For more information and a full list of participating restaurants, visit restaurantsforchange.ca.