Rotary President Gabriele Scholz-DiTommaso and Rotarian Megan Wigmore met at Harvest Algoma to present a cheque for $12,000 for the food resource centre to contribute to food security in the community.
While there, they helped with the baking and packaging of pumpkin pastries, made from some of the 35,000lbs of food saved from landfills during the Great Pumpkin Rescue this fall. Harvest Algoma provides fully cooked meals for clients experiencing food insecurity, including these “rescued” pastries.
Sault Ste Marie Innovation Centre’s RAIN division recently stepped in to lead Harvest Algoma and create programming that can adapt to the city’s changing needs.
“The greatest advantage of SSMIC’s involvement is definitely their governing structure,” shared Jane McGoldrick, General Manager at Harvest Algoma. “Having access to that business expertise is invaluable.” Beyond food rescue, McGoldrick has big plans for the organization, aiming to expand the social enterprise. Harvest Algoma is also working on establishing programming that will offer skills-based training and certifications for co-op students, and a commercial test kitchen for entrepreneurs looking to develop their products. This multi-faceted business model will allow Harvest Algoma to be self-sustaining, continue to contribute to food security locally, and help food rescue facilities in other communities that operate similarly.
With some of Harvest Algoma’s growth already underway, they are making great strides to combat the ongoing grocery crisis. “It’s not getting any easier – we are in absolute crisis right now,” McGoldrick added passionately. “Accessibility is a human right.” With rising costs for basic necessities, more people are relying on food banks. To bridge this accessibility gap, Harvest Algoma supplies produce to local food banks and oversees programs like Every Breakfast Counts, which provides hundreds of bagged lunches for students every day during summer months. By accepting non–traditional donations, combined with the kitchen team’s creativity, Harvest Algoma can provide food access to more people and programs.
With a near empty pantry, Rotary’s donation to Harvest Algoma will contribute to the cost of ordering a food truck, which will bring approximately 42,000lbs of food from Southern Ontario, that will be stored, cooked, and distributed locally.
How can you support more of Rotary’s Charitable projects? Consider purchasing a Rotary Take Your Pick ticket this holiday season. The Rotary Take Your Pick Draw has supported hundreds of charitable projects within our community – including Harvest Algoma. Proceeds from last year’s Take Your Pick Draw have also helped organizations such as THRIVE Child Development Centre, Therapeutic Ride Algoma, and United Way Sault Ste. Marie; supported Rotary’s high school and post-secondary scholarships; and allowed three local students to represent Algoma at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Edmonton.