Family Resource Room
Northeast Family Connections recently worked with consultant, Christopher Cameron of Objective Research & Evaluation Inc to understand the needs of the community and where we could best serve the needs of our community. Overwhelmingly, it was recommended that NEFCS develop and deliver programs and services that focus on key issues or domains - the primary issue in addressing basic needs with an emphasis on food insecurity including shopping for food and menu planning. Another of the key issues was supporting newcomers, immigrants and Indigenous people.
Our Objective is to start up a Family Resource Room which would be stocked with food and celebratory gifts to families who are low income or are newcomers. The program should also benefit our families mental health by building self esteem and maintaining their dignity by empowering them to choose their own food and/or gifts.
The Family Resource room would help to address issues surrounding food insecurities in our community. While many of our families utilize the food bank through referral, it can only be accessed 4-6 times per year based on their situation. As a result, families come to our agency for gift cards to purchase food or to pick up food that has been donated.
The donated food is often not culturally appropriate or the food is new to them and they don't know what to do with it. Our Family Resource room would be stocked with culturally appropriate foods that they can choose from. We would collaborate with our partner agency The Muslim Family Network society to acquire Halal food for example.
Having a Family Resource Room will also provide our staff with the opportunity to refer clients to the Good Food Box Program which provides fresh fruits and vegetables at a very reasonable price. Recipes will be provided for foods that people are not familiar with. As well, we can assist families with menu planning, budgeting, financial literacy and shopping for Canadian foods where appropriate. Educating families about their new environment as well as foods available in Canada can be beneficial for maintaining a family's dignity.
Families also come to us for Christmas hampers and quite often they do not qualify for one. Our Family Resource room would not provide a hamper but would provide them an opportunity to choose a gift for their child(ren). This would also apply to important family events like their child's birthday by choosing a gift rather than asking for a hand out.
Who Will it Benefit?
Our Agency will try and assist anyone who comes to us for assistance. For the period April 2021 - March 2022 - much of this time still under Covid restrictions and reduced hours NEFCS assisted 328 people.
82 New clients
107 Food gift card requests
Referrals for 21 Beds
Referrals for 14 furniture requests
Provided 19 Birthday Bags
Provided 31 Baby Hampers
Provided 19 bicycles
Provided 16 Christmas stockings for disadvantaged teens
Provided clients with 42 Christmas hampers
Provided free clothing to 180 families
Low income, newcomers, immigrants and families struggling through these post covid will all benefit from this program