By Amanda Rylott

Welcome to the first blog of a new series The Compass is launching called “Not Just Food.” This series will review the many different programs that are offered by The Compass and giving a closer look as to see why different programs are important to the overall food security of a community. Whether these programs are related directly towards food, like food provisioning, or not, these blogs will dive into how The Compass is addressing food insecurity in Mississauga. They will also be complemented by “informative” blogs which will discuss broader issues around food insecurity to provide background and context to these issues.

There are many obstacles a person can face that hinders their ability to achieve access to food; housing security, low wages, and employment security are just some of the systemic issues which contribute to food inaccessibility. Think about it, if the majority of your income is going towards keeping a roof over your head and bills, how much money can you spend on healthy food? If you are not living in a home, how can you cook or store food? How can one find employment to afford these things?

The problem is not that there is a lack of food – but a lack of food access. While providing food to low-income families helps to fill in the gaps, it is not a solution to the issue of chronic food insecurity. Therefore, it is important for foodbanks to do more than just provide food – but also provide awareness of these issues, advocate for its clients and fight against the barriers to food security.

That is why food banks need to also focus on outreach programs that are not just about food. There are many programs that offer services to support and improve quality of life, programs which non-low-income community members might take for granted. These programs will range from food programs like its Food Market and Good Food boxes to other essential programs like Haircuts and its Men’s and Women’s groups. Informative blogs will overview different topics around food, including the difference between food availability and accessibility, housing security, and even the Food Donation Act and Food Waste. Stay tuned!

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to see on The Compass Directions blog? Please email your suggestions to Amanda Rylott at blog@thecompass.ca

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