Inexpensive healthy food in Verdun

Four non-profits provide food to families in need

By Tracey Arial

This is a hectic week at the Southwest Mission at 610 Desmarchais in the Verdun Elementary School. Thanks to a new agreement, Mission representatives were organizing food deliveries Monday, Tuesday and today.

The week began with a visit to Moisson/Harvest Montreal’s Côte de Liesse warehouse to see possible ingredients for monthly deliveries of free almost-expired food.

“I was a little nervous, because I didn’t know how it would work,” said Amy Barratt, the office coordinator of the Southwest United Church, who went with Terry, her volunteer food coordinator, to sign the papers and look at the types of food products to be delivered Tuesday.

“It was more varied than I expected. It’s surplus from grocery stores so I was expecting lots of fruit and vegetables. They get it just before its expiry date, so it’s still good but it has to be used quickly. There was milk, and cottage cheese this time, but we wouldn’t get the same thing every month.”

The deliveries are due to a new agreement between Moisson, Southwest and Verdun food bank, Réseau d’entraide de Verdun (REV). REV has the food bank plus transportation and storage facilities for the food. Southwest has connections to families that need emergency food, and also organizes regular group meals and collective kitchen projects for the community Together, the two organizations can accept enough food to be accredited by Moisson to get deliveries every month.

Barratt says that anyone who needs emergency food can get it quickly at the REV building on LaSalle Street, while the rest will be used as part of various community meals and a collective kitchen, once it gets underway. The delivery comes on the third week of the month, which is handy because Southwest holds regular Messy Church Community Celebration meals on the last Sunday of the month.

“Doors open at 12:30,” said Barratt.

“It usually goes until about 3. We usually get about 70 or 80 people. Anybody can come. It’s usually lots of kids and families.”

Monday’s delivery was supposed to arrive at the perfect time, one week after the Good Food Box distribution, which occurs every second Wednesday.

“Something happened to happen to throw off the calendar in January,” said Barratt.

So instead of handling the distribution of 200 boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to individuals and families last week, they are handling those today. Some of the families will also pick up frozen meat, cheese and eggs from the Community Food Share project offered by Commerce Solidaire, which came in yesterday.

Next week, everyone will focus on the Messy Church meal and then the whole procedure will start again next month.

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