British Columbia

'No reason anybody should be going hungry': Unique community food centre opens in Kamloops

Kamloops has a new community centre to address food security issues, one of less than a dozen of its kind in the country.

The Mount Paul Community Food Centre also helps clients learn to cook and garden

It’s not just food that’s served up — the program also offers educational programs and food literacy courses. (Submmited by Dawn Christie)

Kamloops has a new community centre to address food security issues, one of less than a dozen of its kind in the country.

The Mount Paul Community Food Centre opened earlier this week, offering everything from a hot meal to cooking tips for those in need of help.

"Community food centres is a national movement and there's 11 of them across Canada now," said manager Dawn Christie.

"It's targeted to anybody that needs some assistance with increasing their food security and … anybody that's looking to enhance their [food] skills."

The kitchen is big enough to accommodate cooking in volume. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

The difference compared to a food bank or other food services, for example, is the combination of advocacy and education.

It's not just food that's served up — the program also helps clients learn to cook and garden. 

"We run kids programming in partnership with school districts throughout the year and then in the summer we run programming with the YMCA,"Christie said.

"We talk about food science, food recovery and the food cycle."

Huge kitchen, community garden

"It's a very well equipped kitchen," said Diane Mayrhofer, the food skills coordinator.

"We've got two pantries down at the end, a large commercial freezer and two large commercial fridges."  

The combination of advocacy, food security and education is key to the center. (Submmited by Dawn Christie)

Every afternoon Monday to Thursday, for example, the centre offers offers hot, freshly made soups to anyone who comes in.

"We grow a lot of our own product out back as well," she told CBC's Courtney Dickson.

The garden at the centre is used for educational programs and to grow the food served. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

In the garden around the back, there are apple trees, raspberry bushes, strawberry plants, cucumbers and garlic. Baby chickens run around in one corner of the garden — a key part of one of the children's learning programs.

"It's a really good learning garden," Mayrhofer said. "There's no reason anybody should be going hungry."

One of two community food centres in B.C. is now open in Kamloops. Daybreak popped by for a tour. 7:02

With files from Daybreak Kamloops

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