The P.C. Cooking School kitchen at the Dominion Memorial Market was home to a special cooking class Tuesday morning hosted by chef Steve Watson.
It was designed to showcase gourmet food made from ingredients found at the local food bank.
Egbert Walters, the general manager of the Community Food Sharing Association, says all of the ingredients are nutritious.
“It is important that when food banks hand out hampers they try to get as close to Canada’s food guide as possible,” says Walters.
Watson, executive chef at Central Dairies, says by using food staples from the food bank one can avoid having to eat pre-packaged meals.
“You take three, four or five ingredients that are available and you can put out a fantastic meal,” he says.
Food banks rely heavily on donations to feed the hungry. Walters believes that the size of the donation does not count because feeding people is the main priority.
“There are 31,000 Newfoundlanders who regularly turn to food banks every month of the year,” says Walters. “People who use food banks are no different than you or I … they still eat seven days a week.”
Public awareness is key to helping food banks get donations. If people are not aware of the situation they cannot be expected to help, Walters believes.
“It’s all about awareness,” says Watson.
Helping with the awareness is Loblaws. Erica Dunna is the assistant store manager of the Dominion Memorial Market. She says the stores in the Dominion, SaveEasy and Nofrills chains are excited to be part of a program that makes people aware of others’ needs.
“It’s an easy way for people to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves,” says Dunn.
Their Extra Helping food program started April 8 and will run to April 28. Customers, when they enter the store, will have the option of leaving a food donation or adding a financial donation to their bill.
“It is a minimum of $2,” says Dunn.
“It will enable food banks to pick up the products that they really need,” says Walters.
The Community Food Sharing Association is getting ready to ship product to Labrador, Walters says, outlining another use for monetary donations. They hope to spread supplies to food banks in areas like Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabush.
“There are two new food banks opening in Glovertown and Summerford,” Walters adds. “There is more demand than there is supply.”
Walters urges people to donate food to their local food banks.
“It’s Mom, Dad and the kids. That’s what it is really all about,” he says.