Food to Share is an awesome program to help address food insecurity that Glen Wallis started in 2015 after winning a grant from The Awesome Foundation. He and his wife Susan had joined the foundation by paying their own $100 toward the $1000 no-strings attached grant the organization regularly gives out to great submitted ideas for local start-ups. Glen thought “why not my idea?” and submitted it, and that time he won it. He ran with the idea and it’s been a big success ever since.
“I wanted a project that was simple for people to understand and participate in, that would address the issue of food insecurity,” said Wallis. “The best solution is the simplest: use existing volunteer groups, in existing institutions and organizations and then just spread the word about how everyone can help.” His goal was 1,000 pounds of donated food and in no time he had collected over 14,000 pounds including 850 pounds of mushrooms from the local mushroom farm and 2,200 pounds of peas. The grant money went towards buying extra ingredients needed to make dinners out of the donated food. At venues around the County including chef Michael Hoy’s own kitchen and Athol Town Hall with volunteers from the local recreation committee, they created stews, soups, pot pie, chilli and much more. They donated the potatoes and chickens they received to the local food banks for their annual Christmas hampers and other meals. They faced challenges – like how to cook with squash and coming up with meals that incorporated squash. Since the launch, The County of Prince Edward has donated to the cause and held a fundraising dinner that collected $3,500. Glen says, “When the community is given an opportunity to give back, they do.”
They have had entire companies volunteer time to help out with the project. One business, SAB Miller from out of the area came and volunteered their time as a team building exercise! Good for the company and good for Food to Share. Glen’s idea has had a big impact in The County. Recreation Committees and other volunteer groups are getting competitive to see how many meals they can prepare with donated food and local community kitchens are offering their help. Awesome!
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