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More Food for Thought

Downtown Community Ministry

21 August 2008

More Food for Thought
After a week of eating from a food parcel Downtown Community Ministry staff are finding plenty to ponder.
“It’s really the lack of quality and variety that we’ve been struck by,” says DCM Director Stephanie McIntyre.
“The quantity we provide in food parcels seems about right but we are disappointed that the parcels contain very little fruit and vegetables,” she says.

“This is something food bank users have themselves identified. On Monday several were asked for comments about the food bank and while the response was diverse, many felt the inclusion of healthy greens and vegetables was important.”

Staff eating from the food bank experienced a strong sense of restriction and disempowerment. All the parcels were made up by a staff member not participating in the research which provided a sense of pot luck. Throughout the week staff said the freedom they usually have to eat and snack was challenged.

“We had to make a plan and stick to it otherwise the food is gone. I can’t imagine what this is like for someone who needs food assistance for weeks on end, says Stephanie.

Going forward, DCM will to look again at the quality of emergency food it gives.
“We believe the provision of food parcels should support our overall goal of enhancing wellbeing – it’s not about survival mode. The quality shouldn’t decrease because it’s from the food bank. This may mean DCM needs to supplement the parcels with more healthy options.” 

“We all crave goodness, variety and a reasonable degree of freedom to choose what we eat.”


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