Making positive change in Centre Wellington


Stories Transportation Food Income Housing

Centre Wellington
Food & Social Connectivity Report

The Centre Wellington Social Justice Group is developing a food & social connectivity strategy to reduce food insecurity and increase social cohesion in our community.

The purpose of this strategy is increase the number of Centre Wellington residents who have physical and economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe and culturally acceptable food in a socially just manner, and that people are able to make informed decisions about their food choices.

In addition, we know that food is often associated with social gatherings and we have included social connectivity to understand how these two are working in the region and how we can build social connectivity while increasing food security.

Our Centre Wellington Food & Social Connectivity Report presents results from a food and social connectivity community scan commissioned by the Centre Wellington Social Justice Group.

The community scan was designed to provide a listing of local food and social connectivity initiatives, as well as a review of the literature. Building on the local work and best practices, the report makes tangible recommendations on how to increase food security and connectivity for Centre Wellington residents.

Next steps

With just over a full year of experience with the Women’s Community Lunch program (previously known as “Ladies Who Lunch”), and with our Centre Wellington Food & Social Connectivity Report to guide us, we are making plans for our next projects.

We intend to continue to operate the weekly women’s program, and are looking for funding and partners to expand in different ways. Over the course of two years, we want to launch three new meal-centred programs, with goals similar to the goals for the women’s lunch program:

(1) a weekly gathering for men (with a focus on specifically including men who are socially isolated and are precariously housed);
(2) a weekly gathering for working-age men and women who have one of two characteristics: either they are unemployed or underemployed, or they are employed and willing to provide mentoring to others to gain access to the labour market and maintain employment; and
(3) a weekly gathering for youth in the community after school (3-6 pm).

For the women’s program, we have already received generous support from a variety of sources:
• St. James Anglican Church, Fergus
• Centre Wellington Food Bank
• St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Fergus
• Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Fergus
• Knights of Columbus, Fergus
• St. Joseph’s Catholic Women’s League
• Anglican Diocese of Niagara Hands Across Niagara grant program.

If you – or an organization you are affiliated with – would like to know more about the women’s program to support it, or any of the new programs, please let us know:

Also, looking for volunteers for 4 Tasks:
(1) cooking prep (2) table set-up (3) welcome person (4) clean up
Pick which one and which Wednesday. For details, click here.

Social Justice Group launches food-centred initiative
With the support of a grant obtained by St. James Church, the Centre Wellington Social Justice Group has launched a new initiative:
to forge a consensus around food initiatives as means to increased community solidarity/inclusion, food security, employment and eco-justice
to realize specific initiatives the community identifies as highest priority; and
to coordinate volunteer recruitment, retention and management, event scheduling, marketing/advertising, and growing/collecting/buying of local food.Read more>>Information about community food centres
The Local Community Food Centre in Stratford
The Table Community Food Centre in Perth
The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto

Announcing Ladies Who Lunch! funding
We’re happy to announce that we have received a $15,000 grant from the Women’s College Hospital Women’s XChange to start up a new project called Ladies who Lunch!Why? We know that for people with low income, social isolation can be a serious issue. We also know that social isolation and loneliness contribute to poor health in many ways.

What will happen? We will have a weekly women’s lunch get-together to see if we can reduce social isolation, contribute to improved health, and help with new skills for the women involved.

The project is funded by Women’s College Hospital Women’s XChange and supported by the Centre Wellington Food Bank. Our research partner is the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship at the University of Guelph.

Planning for this project will start soon….
if you are interested in helping out, please send us an email:

In a new report on household food insecurity, it is concluded that that despite Canada’s economic recovery, the number of Canadians struggling to put food on the table because of food insecurity is not abating. In fact, the problem appears to have persisted or grown in every province and territory.

Four million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, lived in households that struggled to afford the food they needed in 2012.

The report demonstrates for the first time ever the extent to which our cities are struggling with the problem. Among the 33 major census metropolitan areas examined, food insecurity in 2011-12 was highest in Halifax, affecting about 1 in 5 households, followed by Moncton (17.8%), Guelph (16.4%) and Barrie.

Link to the report here: Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2012.