Food is joy. It brings people together. It puts a smile on one’s face. It is a vital element of celebrations and get togethers. It's integral to our culture and social connections, and in York Region, 1 in 7 households, including 25,000 children, are experiencing food insecurity.
This doesn't just mean that 15% of our population is going without food. It means that the physical health of a good portion of our population is suffering. Tens of thousands of York Region residents are experiencing the mental health impacts of living with food insecurity, including chronic worry, anxiety, stress and depression. Many are experiencing social isolation as they cannot go out for lunch with colleagues or contribute to potlucks or go out for dinner with family or friends. And the same impacts affect children, not being able to invite friends over, as the cupboards are bare.
We are in a food insecurity crisis and the situation worsens by the day.
York Region Food Network offers a three-pillar approach to food insecurity.
1. We offer services (such as a meal program, Good Food Box and gleaning) that provide access to fresh foods to ensure people have access to food right now.
2. We offer programs (such as community gardens and cooking classes) to build skills, confidence and reduce social isolation.
3. We work with hundreds of stakeholders in the community to educate and advocate on food insecurity, and to build a more coordinated food system.
York Region Food Network works in all nine municipalities of York Region. Our program design is evidence-based, and our work has proven results of:
• Improving mental health
• Increasing fresh food access
• Reducing social isolation
• Building community connections and friendships
• Building environmental education and awareness
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