A Halifax-based non-profit is taking inspiration from a national food delivery service to make sure its clients are well fed, educated on nutrition and sticking to their budget.
Non-profit reachAbility launched its newest program, Hello Reach in February to assist those that depend on their services change into higher cooks. With food insecurity a growing problem for a lot of because the COVID-19 pandemic began, Hello Reach provides reachAbility’s clients within the Halifax Regional Municipality with confidence within the kitchen and confidence that they’re preparing healthy meals for themselves and their household.
“Essentially, it’s a food security service that we run for the HRM,” says reachAbility coordinator Chelsea Coffin. “We’ve helped over 50 clients but in fact those clients have households, partners, roommates, children, so we all know that those recipes, those food boxes, are being put to good use.”
Nova Scotia has one among the very best rates of food insecurity in Canada and Food Banks Canada has reported a 20 to 50 per cent increase in demand for food donations in some regions because the starting of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
READ MORE: Some Nova Scotia food banks see more demand and more support
“It’s an enormous deal,” Coffin says. “Food security throughout the HRM has been an enormous deal even before the pandemic. … Then the pandemic hit and never only were people losing food security, but they were losing a … sense of community.”
The staff of reachAbility hope that implementing outreach programs like Hello Reach will bring that sense of community back to its clients.
“We’re helping construct that community back up by involving people in something like this where you possibly can get together along with your roommate or your partner or your kids and cook these fresh meals,” she says.
ReachAbility is a non-profit organization based out of Halifax that gives supportive and accessible programs to individuals facing barriers to inclusion and community participation. Their services are free and include employment, housing, mental health and wellness.
Tova Sherman, reachAbility’s co-founder and CEO, recently told Global News that one among the organization’s principles is to talk for individuals who don’t at all times have a voice.
“We focus on the folks that fall between the cracks. So if not us, who? We’re at all times coming up with what’s needed and we consider nobody should fall into the dark,” Sherman says.
READ MORE: Halifax non-profit ensuring accessibility, inclusion during COVID-19
Jacob Cuvelier, a business development specialist with reachAbility who can also be generally known as Chef Jacob to Hello Reach users, works with a nutritionist to select a recent recipe each week. The ingredients are delivered to participants’ residences and an instructional video hosted by Chef Jacob is posted to the Hello Reach website as a step-by-step guide to creating the meal.
“It’s just a very wonderful thing that’s come about and it’s built a very awesome sense of community since we’ve launched in February,” Coffin says.
Each health-conscious recipe is designed with comfort in mind. The team at reachAbility sees it as a method to boost mental wellness for this system’s users in addition to physical well-being. Comfort food recipes include creamy fettuccine, stuffed chicken breast, lemon butter salmon, stir-fry and fajita bowls. Anyone can access these videos and recipes online through the reachAbility website.
Coffin says the team at reachAbility plans to proceed the Hello Reach food delivery program for so long as they’ll.
“We’re a not-for-profit, so so long as we now have the funding, I feel we’ve had such an incredible final result and such positive feedback that I can’t see us stopping any time soon.”
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