UNE CUISINE UNIE: A new Saint-Michel community kitchen to fight food insecurity and teach young people healthy habits

The 4th annual Centre Lasallien Director’s BBQ. Back row, left to right: Paul Evra, Fayolle Jean Jr, Andy Mailly-Pressoir, Anthony Jacques. Patrice Bernier, Philippe Fehmiu, Salimo, Yves Ulysse, front row, left to right: Anne-Lovely Étienne, Woody Belfort | photo credit: Do Phan Hoi

As part of its 4th annual director’s BBQ, with the participation of many public figures, Centre Lasallien launched its Une Cuisine Unie crowdfunding campaign, which aims to provide the organization with new facilities for a community kitchen to fight food insecurity in Saint-Michel.

As usual, the festive event brought together a variety of Centre Lasallien’s partners and collaborators. This year, the goal was to deliver 500 meals and food baskets to new arrivals’ families. Throughout the day, 40 public figures took turns distributing food baskets and care packages to families.

Among the personalities who took part were Philippe FehmiuAnne-Lovely ÉtienneYves Jr. UlyssePatrice BernierIzzy-SLouis JeanVincent DestouchesPreachKim ClavelFayolle Jean JrSchelby Jean-BaptisteJulie-Anne HoDorothy RhauSalimoHassoun CamaraKevin RaphaëlPatrick MarsolaisDolinoRaccoonSHAH FRANKDramatik and Woody Belfort.

For Andy-Mailly Pressoir, a host and sports journalist at TVA Sports and Centre Lasallien spokesperson“This time of crisis made me realize how much of an impact small gestures can have on people’s lives. I’ve been touched by my community’s spirit of solidarity and mutual aid. Everyone helps each other out.“
The support of many partners, collaborators, companies, and donors made the BBQ possible: Fonds de la Mission, President’s Choice Children’s Charity, Second Harvest, Moisson Montréal, Chef on Call, Réchaud-Bus, Vivre Saint-Michel en santé, Member for Viau Frantz Benjamin, and City Councillor for Saint-Michel Josué Corvil.
Promoting healthy habits
Saint-Michel is one of the most underprivileged neighbourhoods in Montreal. Many area families face real difficulties feeding themselves in a healthy, balanced way due to food deserts and food insecurity. Food-related issues can have major repercussions on young people’s education—since when students are hungry, it’s much harder for them to focus and learn.

For years now, Centre Lasallien has been working with people in Saint-Michel to create an appealing space for the area’s young people and families. During the pandemic, the organization put in place various programs to significantly reduce food insecurity in the neighbourhood and promote healthy habits among young people. The Agir Ensemble food-distribution program involves delivering weekly packed lunches to more than 150 of the neighbourhood’s at-risk families. Meanwhile, the Santé Physique program teaches young people how to develop healthy minds in healthy bodies through physical activities that help them reach their full potential.
Une cuisine unie

The organization has noted growing needs among people in Saint-Michel, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to expand and improve its community kitchen facilities. The goal of this campaign, which is part of La Ruche’s Fonds Mille et UN pour la jeunesse, is to raise $50,000. La Ruche, via the Secrétariat à la Jeunesse du Québec, has committed to match this amount to make this project a reality.

The funds that Centre Lasallien will raise will allow it to completely renovate and expand its kitchen and purchase professional-grade equipment that’s safe, modern, and ergonomic. These improvements will enable the organization to continue and sustain its youth-centric socio-educational mission through its various programs encouraging healthy eating habits and fighting food insecurity.

Improvements, expansions and upgrades to the kitchen will allow Centre Lasallien to:

  • prepare more packed lunches for Saint-Michel’s most vulnerable families
  • increase the number of vulnerable families benefiting from these packed lunches
  • give young people the tools to fight and reduce food insecurity
  • prepare snacks for the young people who attend the centre each day, and provide some of them their only meal of the day
  • organize educational and awareness-raising activities for young people about healthy eating habits
  • introduce young people to new options (fruits, vegetables, new recipes, etc.) to teach them food autonomy
“This project not only helps bring young people’s dreams to life and offers them opportunities to learn to cook and help their community, but also to develop their food autonomy. We want to give them the tools they need to contribute to their own development and well-being,” said Paul Evra, Director General of Centre Lasallien.
To donate to Centre Lasallien’s Une Cuisine Unie campaign, visit their site at https://laruchequebec.com/en/projet/une-cuisine-unie. The campaign will end on September 16, 2021.
About Centre Lasallien
Centre Lasallien is a socio-educational centre dedicated to providing young people with integral-development services grounded in an inclusive approach that prioritizes the most vulnerable. Through our educational initiatives among young people and their families, we seek to reduce inequalities and improve their chances of attaining social and educational success. By providing young people with a stimulating environment, we help them get involved and be open, proactive, responsible citizens.
 www.centrelasallien.org

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