Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Updates from our Donation Partners

Each week, The Cutting Veg donates fresh produce to 6 different community organisations. We asked them how our produce donations are impacting their communities, and here is what they told us:

Elm Grove CSA

Sutton Food Bank:

“We really look forward to this time of the year - when we can distribute fresh garden vegetables to the people who use our services. We are certainly blessed to be able to give our families, produce, and local organic produce no less, which is picked at its prime of growth. Our families are certainly very grateful for these contributions.”

Holy Sprouts CSA

Wychwood Open Door:

"Wychwood Open Door is a day-time drop-in centre that has served homeless and socially isolated people in Toronto's midtown St. Clair West community since 1986 in the basement of St, Mathew’s United Church. Wychwood Open Door provides members with a safe warm environment where they find guidance, food, friendship, and support. We serve a hot breakfast and lunch three days a week and in 2011 served over 14,500 meals. Wychwood is a registered charity, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

HOW THE CUTTING VEG ORGANIC FARM HELPS

The fresh organic vegetables we receive from your donations are used daily in our meals. They enhance them by providing health and nutrition without the pesticide worry. We usually serve our lunch with a plain salad but the Swiss Chard, kale, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers you have provided have allowed us to make phenomenal stir fries and other exciting new side dishes. The garlic and onions have been roasted and added to other dishes we make, which enhances the flavour and taste of the food that we serve.

Over the last couple of years, we have found there has been an increasing presence of vegetarians coming to the Centre and having your donation assures that they get a meal that helps support their dietary needs. This year, our staff and volunteers have made eggplant Parmesan, squash soup, stuffed peppers, amazing vegetable soups, and so much more. Some vegetables get used as our main for the meal for all to benefit from. And at the end of the day, if we find that there is more than enough for us to cook, which often happens, we give what we can to our members to take home so they can continue to eat nutritious food when Wychwood is not available to provide it. Having the variety and quality of vegetables that you donate to our kitchen has encouraged everyone to be more open to trying new and different foods, and healthy ones! It opens a world of new tastes experiences for our members, the volunteers and staff and allows an atmosphere of pleasure in both creating the meals and eating them at Wychwood Open Door.”

Pri Adamah CSA

Eva’s Place:

"Eva's Place is home to 32 youth at any given time, providing them with not only shelter and programming, but also with nutritious meals. The weekly donations made by The Cutting Veg help Eva's Place ensure that our youth maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Your generous donations of produce provide the backbone for many of our meals and help us meet Canada's food guidelines. With the price of fresh produce continually increasing, your contribution helps to offset this essential cost. Getting organic vegetables is even more of a treat for us and something we couldn’t otherwise afford.

Every Thursday at Eva’s Place, after receiving your donations, youth are engaged in a program called Lunch and Learn, where our chef teaches them a new recipe using the items donated that week. They then share this meal with other clients and staff, proudly explaining to all what they cooked that day. Your invaluable support works to keep youth at Eva's Place healthy, happy, and well-fed.”

Shalom Harvest CSA

Bikur Cholim:

“Thank you for spearheading this wonderful Community Supported Agriculture Program and for including Bikur Cholim as a donation partner for your veggies. Through the efforts of your community, we have been able to use the fresh, locally grown produce in the soups, salads, and side dishes we prepare for vulnerable individuals in the Greater Toronto Area. With your veggie donations, the health of our community is thriving.

It is extremely heartening to Bikur Cholim as a community organization that we are able to partner with other endeavours to bring aid and succor to those in need. Your initiative and commitment has made this possible, and for that we thank you!  We wish you a safe, healthy, and happy summer.”

Kavanah Garden CSA

Update from Ve'ahavta:

“Each Thursday, your donated CSA shares, extra veg, and whatever was harvested from Shoresh's Kavanah Garden that afternoon, are all donated to our tzedakah partner, Ve'ahavta. Ve’ahavta, The Canadian Jewish Humanitarian and Relief Committee, has been working with those living in poverty within the City of Toronto and abroad for 14 years. Our Homeless Outreach Van has met with thousands of peoples from all walks of life – all with a story to tell and many with pain in their hearts. Ve’ahavta works to alleviate this pain by providing essential services to empower them and move forward from their hardships and obtain personal success in any form they choose.

Our partnership with the Kavanah Garden CSA has been one we are most honoured to be a part of. Every week during the spring, summer, and autumn months, the Kavanah Garden CSA generously provides us with fresh produce, which we then bring to one of our partners, Evangel Hall Mission. Evangel Hall Mission has been in operation since 1913 and has served as a drop-in centre for the homeless and near homeless. Evangel Hall uses these veggies to make fresh soups and foods to serve at their community breakfasts, lunches and dinners which they serve 7-days a week. The number of people touched by your donations is countless!

Thank you everyone for the impact you have made. Your participation in the Kavanah Garden CSA is helping to get healthy and delicious food to folks in our community who really need it. You are all vivid examples of the best that comes out of the community.”

Park Road Organic Harvest CSA

Church of the Redeemer:

Dear our friends at The Cutting Veg,

Here at Church of the Redeemer, our drop-in meal program sees 100-120 people every day. Many of our participants live on the streets or in the shelters, and our space offers a safe, welcoming space to all who enter our doors. Here in our program, we offer a hot breakfast and lunch, medical services, one-on-one counselling, legal services, and housing and employment assistance.

The other day, I had a conversation with one of our participants named Fred. ‘I come here and I feel like I have a fresh start,’ he told me. ‘This food, it makes me feel like somebody, it’s not someone’s leftovers in a McDonald’s bag. The vegetables today reminded me of home.’

Since our partnership with The Cutting Veg, our participants have noticed the ample amount of amazing quality vegetables we have and have been thrilled by it. It means a lot to our participants to feel like they are ‘worth the good stuff’, and the vegetables have made it possible for us to offer a larger variety of high quality and healthy foods. Our volunteers are always excited to see such wonderful veggies to work with. The vegetables from The Cutting Veg bring our community together, and let our participants know that good quality produce is meant for all.

Thank you so much for seeking us out as a community partner during your 2012 harvest season. It has been a pleasure working with all of you- each staff at The Cutting Veg embodies welcoming spirit and a compassionate heart. Thank you for going out of your way to deliver these vegetables to us and in turn the marginalized community in Toronto. I look forward to hopefully working with you again in the future.

Sincerely,

Angie Hocking
Outreach Coordinator
Church of the Redeemer

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