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New initiative aims to help against food instability

It can be extremely devastating and scary to live with food insecurity. And for many residents of the Valley, this is a very present reality. With inflation ravaging through grocery stores, it’s getting harder to afford groceries all the time.

Zoë Gillies of Le Grenier de Zoe in Ormstown was chatting with a regular customer one day at the store when the customer revealed she had been struggling to afford groceries. “She explained to me that the week prior, she had gone two days without eating until a friend lent her money to go buy food. This was difficult for me to digest,” explains Gillies. It was hard for her to imagine how this could happen. “We have supermarkets throwing food out daily, and people starving. This doesn’t make sense,” she says.

The night of this conversation, Gillies turned to Facebook and asked the community to help. She received an overwhelming response. “Less than 24 hours later, she had six bags of groceries delivered to her door. But not only that, another family of four reached out. That same evening, we filled her pantry as well; soon after, two more families. We received food, money, gift cards, homemade meals, garden produce, and more. I was blown away.”

 

Zoë Gillies has been collecting donations of groceries and gift cards to help those who need help with keeping food on the table in the Valley PHOTO FacebookWhere Food Meets KindnessZoë Gillies has been collecting donations of groceries and gift cards to help those who need help with keeping food on the table in the Valley PHOTO FacebookWhere Food Meets Kindness

 

Gillies hopes that this can turn into something sustainable to help members of the community who need a bit of assistance. “My goal is to build a community pantry accessible to all, something permanent where people can leave food and take food.” She adds that to achieve this goal, however, help is needed. “We are always looking for support. We need people to buy groceries according to people’s needs; people to deliver; people to drive people to Huntingdon to the food bank when possible – I’m currently working with one of the volunteers to make all this possible.”

Folks who are willing and able can contact Gillies through the Where Food Meets Kindness Facebook page or visit Le Grenier de Zoe in Ormstown.

Gillies emphasizes that we are all struggling right now, and that it’s important not to assume anything about those needing support. “People are still making the same paychecks, but all their bills have gone up. Even when two people are working, it can be hard. Sometimes we just need someone to lift us up. And it could be for just a few moments, but without that lift, we may not make it.” There should be no shame associated with asking for help, especially with something that is a necessity like food. “It’s essential and should be accessible to all. If it was up to me, food would be free. You don’t need to be in a specific situation to need a little help and that’s why I’m here.” She adds, “We are here, as a community, to make a difference.”

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