Bissell Centre Community Kitchen

The Cause

Bissell Centre serves over 5,000 people who are living in poverty or experiencing homelessness in Edmonton every year. Food is such a fundamental part of human existence, yet many of our clients struggle to afford or cook their own food. As part of a redevelopment to our existing Community Space, we will be adding a Community Kitchen that will host free, drop-in based programs for our clients, including:

- Drop-In Collective Kitchens - clients will make food that does not require refrigeration or cooking, which they can then take with them for food on the go (ex. Homemade granola bars, muffins, etc.)
- Workshops for newly-housed individuals to learn the basics of food and cooking so they can fully utilize and keep their home
- Workshops for clients on how to make meals out of the food that is given in traditional food hampers
- Cultural Meals where external parties will come in to instruct participants on how traditional food from various cultures is prepared
- Food Safety Certification courses for our Employment Services clients

A lack of basic cooking knowledge has been identified by our housing teams as a common barrier to individuals keeping their home. Clients without adequate cooking skills are forced to buy expensive pre-made meals or fast food. They end up spending their money on food instead of rent, which leads to eviction. Many families who receive food hampers have expressed that they do not know how to use the food they are given, which results in some of it going to waste. We also currently rely on other organizations to provide Food Safety Certification to people in our Employment Programs.

The new Community Kitchen will allow us to offer programs that are specifically designed to address the food security issues of our clients. We will also be able to offer Food Safety Certification in-house, which will qualify our clients for more jobs. With funding from Field Law we will be able to purchase food and supplies that are needed to run these programs that will empower our clients with the knowledge and skills they need to meet their own basic needs.

Who Will it Benefit?

Over 100,000 people live in poverty in Edmonton, with 1,752 people sleeping rough on the streets. Bissell Centre works with others to empower people who are living in poverty or experiencing homelessness to move towards a more prosperous future. Each year, Bissell Centre provides supports and resources to over 5,000 people in our community. Clients in our Community Space, Housing Services, Employment Programs, and Family Resources will all be able to access the programs being offered in the Community Kitchen.