United Way Sault Ste Marie and Algoma District, through their wholly-owned and operated Harvest Algoma Food Resource Centre, is pulling the community together to ensure there is food for those who need it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is the Harvest Algoma Food Resource Centre?
It is a community hub for food and food preparation donations. Harvest Algoma is a center that gathers food donations and distributes them across our community to more than 29 agencies. It also has a Community Commercial kitchen for food preparation, large freezers and refrigerators for food storage so that fresh foods can be processed and saved as a healthy food source for vulnerable people in the community.
Harvest Algoma Food Resource Centre accepts all food and food preparation donations they can collect from retail stores, restaurants and gardens and find ways to use these items rather than food going to waste.
When not locked down due to a pandemic, local businesses can donate food items on a scheduled basis. Individuals are invited to drop off donations of food items, food preparation items as well as garden seeds, personal hygiene items and much much more.
During the pandemic, Harvest Algoma is the cornerstone for food security in Sault Ste. Marie. No single food bank or organization in the community can beat its capacity. Recently it was the recipient of two transport truckloads of fresh produce from Second Harvest in Toronto Ontario and a third transport load, including fresh produce and dry goods, is on its way.
Saving Money and Serving People
The value of food in each load is between $60,000 and $100,000. United Way, in partnership with Lock City Dairies in Sault Ste. Marie, pays only for the delivery of each load food. No charge for the food itself. This food is distributed through food banks, shelters and treatment homes, as well as through social service organizations and two area Indigenous communities.
In addition to the three loads of donated food, the Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services Administration Board (SSMDSSAB)purchased one transport load of dry goods for the community. This load was delivered to Harvest Algoma and will be distributed from there to the local food banks. Furthermore, the SSMDSSAB has purchased 1,500 ready-made meals from restaurants, which were also delivered to Harvest Algoma for storage and distribution.
- Harvest Algoma approached local restaurants to rescue perishable foods that were not needed by the restaurants due to social distancing. Restaurants were happy to participate.
- Food rescue from local grocery stores continues through the COVID-19 crisis. The local dairy has donated significant amounts of milk to Harvest Algoma. A local volunteer group is also picking up and delivery food donations from community members.
- Four local chefs have volunteered their time and talent to prepare meals in the Harvest Algoma kitchen, based on the foods that are available in the Centre. These meals are frozen and then delivered to food banks for distribution to community members in need.
- Just recently, United Way Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District was offered a transport load of potatoes – a scarcity in local food banks – that will be delivered every two weeks until further notice.
- Harvest Algoma also has the capacity to store food for any of the local food banks; whether it be dry goods, refrigerated or frozen foods.
United Way Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District’s Harvest Algoma is working hard to ensure that there is food for people in the community during this unprecedented period.