Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre
Our city’s health care system is in crisis, with hospitals and long-term care homes stretched to capacity. We are currently in the second wave, and we need to brace for the impact of this to become worse, especially on our province’s most vulnerable. Rest assured, we will keep pushing this government to spend the money we need to stave off tragedy before it’s too late.
With that in mind, I want to highlight some of the “caremongering” efforts in Ottawa Centre that started as a result of our community coming together in the first wave, and will now be needed more than ever in this second wave.
One of those projects is Cooking for a Cause Ottawa, an initiative that unites restaurants, caterers, bakeries and community agencies in an effort to support those who are food insecure in our city, run in partnership with the great folks at Parkdale Food Centre.
Cooking for a Cause Ottawa was started by the Ottawa Community Food Partnership (OCFP), and it leverages the expertise of small businesses in the food sector facing financial crises now, and community agencies who work with people who are marginalized on a daily basis.
The Wellington Gastropub and the Red Apron, for example, have made nutritious soups and meals for isolated seniors, served by community nurses from the Somerset West Community Health Centre, while Urban Element makes 400 hot meals a week for their harm reduction services.
The results have been tremendous according to Erica Braunovan, who works as OFCP’s Coordinator.
“Within one week of the COVID-19 shutdown, we were offering food businesses the opportunity to keep working by paying for their incredible talents,” Braunovan said. “Today, Cooking for a Cause Ottawa delivers 4,000 healthy, delicious, culturally appropriate meals a week across the city.”
We know access to good food is a key determinant of health. It is now more important than ever for us to ensure those in our city, who are food insecure or may face food insecurity in this second wave, are taken care of.
We must also all do our part in limiting our close contacts, staying home when sick and being “COVID wise” so organizations doing critical care work, like the Ottawa Community Food Partnership and their staff, can continue to work safely in the community.
If you’d like to find out more about the Ottawa Community Food Partnership, or support their work, visit www.ottawacommunityfoodpartnership.ca/cfac.