Neighbourhood food bank says no thank you to Kraft Dinner
An Ottawa food bank is saying no thank you to Kraft Dinner, hot dogs and dozens of other items deemed unhealthy.
Parkdale Food Centre co-ordinator Karen Secord says everybody deserves good-quality food – even those who can't afford it.
"I don't want canned stew, Alpha-Getti, Kraft Dinner, pop, chips, candy," Secord told CTV Ottawa.
Going through a box of donated food items, Secord is quick to take some pieces out of the mix. Among the items that failed to make the cut are: a box of Dunkaroos, a package of Maynards Swedish Berries, an opened bottle of salad dressing that expired in 2008 and an opened container of Hot Rod meat snacks.
"It is sending the message out to people that you are not worth it, that your health isn't worth as much as my health is worth," Secord said.
She said foods that are deemed unhealthy separated from the other donation items. If the food originated from the Ottawa Food Bank, which supports several emergency food programs in the city, it is sent back.
The Ottawa Food Bank said it was unaware of any food items being sent back.
Secord is part of a working group that looks at all food being purchased and swaps some items such as margarine in favour of fresh produce.
Parkdale Food Centre clients, meanwhile, say they're happy about the centre’s healthy food criteria.
"Who wants to live on Kraft Dinner? Sure enough not us," client Annabelle Biefer said.
Another client Joeann Tourangeau said food bank clients would like to eat properly – just like those who can afford to purchase their own groceries.
"We would like to feel better about ourselves and by eating properly, of course you feel better."
Secord said she'd like to see more egg, milk, yogurt and cheese donations coming into the centre.
A 'Good Food List' on the Parkdale Food Centre website lists nuts, fresh meats, rice and canned beans among dozens of other items.
"Everything starts with good food," Secord said.
According to Food Banks Canada, close to 850,000 Canadians used food banks on a monthly basis in 2013, and more than one-third of those helped were children and youth. The organization said the number is down from 2012, but significantly higher than the estimated 676,000 Canadians that used food banks each month in 2008.
The HungerCount 2013 report shows that 38 per cent of food banks have been forced to cut back the amount of food they provide to each household because they do not have enough.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr