HOW TO HELP
We can all play a role in strengthening our community. Please join us in any and all ways you can: donate, participate, and advocate.
For those working minimum wage jobs or relying on social assistance, after paying rent and related bills, there is often no money left for food. Last year in Belleville, nearly 10,000 adults and 5,500 children were in need of food services to survive hungry times.
Belleville residents are fortunate to have the support of many local agencies and their volunteers, but these agencies are unable to do it alone. Community donations are critical for most programs to succeed. Learn more about where and how to lend a hand:
CDC Quinte's overarching goal is to be a recognizable and visible presence in the community that identifies urgent and emerging social issues, while providing programs and services that positively impact the quality of life and health of individuals. They currently offer 5 programs in Hastings & Prince Edward Counties:
- Good Baby Box
- Good Food Box
- Community Gardens
- Community Kitchens
- Good Food Market
Gleaners is the primary food bank for Belleville and the surrounding areas. It currently supplies its visitors with groceries and other essential items once per month. While this support can be life changing, it is often not enough to sustain those that need it. Click to learn how you can help them do more, by donating food, money, or hosting an event.
The activities of Salvation Army's Community & Family Services differ from community to community, depending on need. In Belleville, the focus is on addressing food insecurity. This location offers:
- a year round daily supper meal program
- a secondary food bank for Belleville
- a thrift store (closed right now)
For more than 20 years, Bridge Street United Church’s Food Ministry has provided meal support from the church kitchen to a food insecure population in Belleville. Bridge Street United Church is committed to addressing poverty in our community and understands housing need and food insecurity to be intertwined and often concurrent experiences related to poverty.
- A daily lunch program
- TGIF take home frozen meals
>- Daytime shelter space (*new this year*)
- Community research related to poverty
Not Alone Team Quinte is constantly adapting to the growing and changing needs of the community, working alongside other organizations to fill any perceived gaps. Their mission is to provide services and outreach on behalf of the poor, hungry, and those that are residentially challenged; which includes, but is not limited to, meals, friendship, food drives, and advocacy.
Now that daily lunch and dinner programs are being offered by other agencies, they have reduced their warm meals to serve one meal per week to known homeless and those that don't have cooking facilities. They also offer an emergency one-week supply of frozen meals to those going through particularly vulnerable times. They also:
- offer an outreach program, providing supplies to homeless and others dealing with chronic poverty
- offer emergency assistance program, to gather and provide household essentials when there is no where else to turn
- assist in finding and accompany people in finding the appropriate human services
- act as advocates for affordable housing
Each program and fund offered by The Learning Foundation is designed to support students and remove barriers so they can learn and grow. Food-related programming include:
- Student Nutrition Programs (Food 4 Learning)
- Food For Home
- Student Emergency Fund
Now more than ever The Learning Foundation needs your support! Click to learn more about how to donate.
St. Matthew's offers a free weekly lunch program, Matthew's Table, followed by a small pantry program (aka food bank). This is the only location in Belleville where those in need can access pantry items on a weekly basis. This program is supported by the congregation of St. Matthew's, proceeds from their annual yard sale, and any excess stock held at Gleaners Food Bank. To date, it operates with food donations only and no additional budget. Monetary support would help to purchase additional ingredients to round out recipes.
To donate, please send a cheque or money order to "St. Matthew's United Church", with memo "St. Matthew's Table and Pantry". Mail to 25 Holloway Street, Belleville, K8P 1N8 OR online through their Canada Helps page.
Open Door Cafe operates at Eastminster United Church, offering a weekly lunch each Wednesday from 11:30 am - 1 pm. They rely on donations and volunteers to maintain this valuable program.
To volunteer your time, leave a message with your name and number at the Eastminster Church office (613-969-5212 ) and someone will contact you. Financial donations can be made payable to: "Eastminster: Open Door Café" and brought to 432 Bridge Street East, Belleville or through the Canada Helps button on their webpage: eastminster.ca.
If you would like more information about this program, please contact the Church office.
Grace Inn is the first and only shelter in Belleville. Their mission is to house homeless adults in a safe, dignified, and hospitable environment. They have 21 beds and offer a light evening meal upon arrival, a daily breakfast, and a connection to further human services.
JHS provides services, programs and education to all those affected by our criminal justice system, while promoting practical, evidenced-based policies to improve this system. While it is not uncommon for those facing chronic hunger and homelessness to become wards of the justice system, JHS plays a critical role as an ally to those facing severe food insecurity in Belleville.
With funding from Hastings County Community and Human Services, JHS has recently partnered with Bridge Street United, Grace Inn, and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to offer a daily drop-in program at 60 Bridge Street from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm.
Click here to help JHS fulfill their mission.
There are many ways to help that don't cost money. Formally volunteer your time with a food program or simply check in on a neighbour that you may know is struggling. Communities thrive when we all bring our diverse skills, personalities, and perspectives to the table - when we participate and care for one another in any way we can.
Volunteering in your community is a highly rewarding experience. It can be a great way to meet new people, to gain skills and experience, to try something new, and to build a real sense of accomplishment. Most all food programs in Belleville are only able to exist because of their dedicated volunteers. But due to the busyness of people's lives, programs experience high volunteer turnover and are often in need of help.
More information will be posted soon about organizations in need of volunteers - who and what they are looking for.
Local businesses are owned and operated by your neighbours. They care about you and are invested in the well-being of your community. When you purchase local food, you support local farmers that donate to local meal programs when their yields are high. The food will be more nutritious, because it is coming from the group to you - not travelling for days or miles. And in many cases, the carbon footprint is nearly non-existent, which is better for us all in the long run.
Building skills such as growing, cooking, canning & preserving food are important ways to stretch the use of your food and your dollar. And it might just surprise you how fun they can all be! Invite your friends over and learn to cook a meal together, or can some tomato sauce. Share enthusiasm for food with your friends and watch as your relationships and lifestyles evolve and deepen.
Support community by building community. Get to know the people nearest you and help each other out. Share food. Get together for meals. Trade leftovers. There are many low-cost ways to make a big difference in people's lives. It starts just by being there.
There are many more solutions required in our community to build a stronger food system and help our community thrive. Get to know what's happening, what the gaps are, and become active in creating new initiatives to fill those gaps. Anyone can make a difference!
While food-based charity can and will stave off day-to-day hunger, research has shown that it does not relieve long-term food insecurity. Food insecurity is a systemic, economic and cultural crisis. To create food abundance in our communities, we must enact long-lasting changes that lift people out of poverty, and acknowledge food as a right, rather than a commodity. The only way to make long-lasting systemic change is to become politically involved and advocate for the issues that matter. Visit the following resources to learn more about the top advocacy issues impacting food insecurity in Canada today.
"Ontario proposes housing affordability task force amongst high prices and sales", CTV News, Nov 7/21.
"Built for Zero Canada: Beginning the End of Homelessness in Canada". https://bfzcanada.ca/
Do what you can today, advocate for a better tomorrow.