The current COVID situation has had a tremendous impact on West Islanders. All three local foodbanks (West Island Mission, On Rock Community Services and West Island Assistance Fund) have seen an increase between 20% and 50% in the number of families requesting food baskets. Families who were, until now, barely making ends meet, are now in an extremely precarious situation and all are facing food insecurity. Many of the families served are either newcomers to Canada, single-parent families, or “working poor”.
The Solidarity Gardens initiative is asking all West Islanders to grow a vegetable garden this summer and give back some of their harvests to a local food bank. This will support some 750+ West Island families who are experiencing food insecurity by helping food banks and other community organizations to provide healthy food baskets to those in need.
The Solidarity Gardens will also pair seniors and youths who will plant a vegetable garden in the senior’s backyard. While respecting all social distancing guidelines, the youth will tend to the garden during their weekly visit and the pair will spend time together and break seniors’ isolation.
Join them on Saturday, May 30th at the YMCA, Pointe-Claire, 230 Brunswick Blvd from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. where you will be able to receive seedlings and seeds to get you started.
“We strongly believe that this initiative has all the key elements to support a real systemic change in the West Island. This may be the first growing season in what could become a new normal post-COVID. We are proud to support the Solidarity Gardens initiative which involves a multitude of amazing community organizations to provide basic necessities to West Islanders in need” says Sophie McCann, Executive Director, West Island Community Shares.
The Solidarity Gardens initiative is powered by the Solidarity Fund of West Island Community Shares. Although the project is being led by West Island Mission and Corbeille de pain, 11 community groups will collaborate and benefit from this new initiative, including West Island Citizen Advocacy and Community Resource Centre. This year’s harvest will be donated to: West Island Mission, On Rock Community Services, West Island Assistance Fund, Corbeille de pain, Marché Solidaire A-Ma-Baie, and L’Équipe Entreprise.