ICS: Mount Paul Food Centre

Contributor(s): Ayesha Uchil, SerenaLau, Goodluck Ebo, Callum Etches

Snapshot of Programming

The Mount Paul Community Food Centre offers programs based on food access, food skills, and education.  We aim to create healthy changes in our community, increase food literacy, engage community members and foster partnerships. ICS strives to create a welcoming space where people come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for healthy food.

Community Meals

– Sensational Soups: a delicious homemade meal offered between 11 am and 1 pm on Mondays and Thursdays.  Open to the community.

– Second Helpings: drop-in meals offered between 4 pm and 6 pm on Wednesdays.  Open to youth between 13 and 24 years old.

Food Skills Programs

– Culinary Classes: shared kitchens where people come to cook and socialize in a fun environment while either learning new skills or passing on their own culinary knowledge.

– Harvest to Home: donated food from the local grocery stores is sorted, recovered and processed at the center to use in programming and to assist in combating food waste.

– Foodie Friday: weekly drop-in offered in order to connect with others in a welcoming and encouraging environment with a focus on food literacy and education.

– Food Sense: 6-week program based on a standardized best practice core curriculum that has been professionally designed by dietitians and educators and built on Canada’s Food Guide.

– Community Gardens: in partnership with the City of Kamloops, the coordination of 9 organic community gardens is provided to over 350 gardeners.

– Public Produce: a public garden that is maintained in McDonald Park and open for anyone to utilize or glean from, increasing immediate access to produce.

– Educational Garden: an onsite garden that has two drop-ins a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to 12 pm.

Children’s Programming

– Field Trip Adventures/Camp Days: designed for after school programs or elementary classes.  A choice of two curriculums are offered; food science or food cycle.  Children rotate through components of culinary skills, garden knowledge, and the impact of nutrition.

Seniors Programming

– Meals on Wheels: a meal delivery program.  Participants order meals based on preferences and volunteers make meal deliveries twice a week.

– Grocery Shopping Assistance: seniors looking for assistance in shopping, either in-store or over the phone.

– Food Hamper Delivery: once a month, seniors living with accessibility issues have a food bank hamper delivered to their homes by volunteers.

– Farmers Market Coupons: in partnership with the BC Farmers Market Association, weekly coupons are distributed to low-income seniors and pre or post-natal new moms during the market season.

* Credit is given to Mount Paul community food center for providing us with the above information.

Mount Paul Program

Mount Paul offers a lot of programs designed to enhance individuals’ quality of life by building strong and meaningful community connections. Such as community living; which has so many sub-divisions, giving the people a lot of options to choose where they perfectly belong.

Terry’s Place

  • Enhance independence and promotes individual life skills
  • Facilitates family relationships and community connections

Centennial House

  • Provides support for daily living
  • Teaches life skills

Community Inclusion

  • Promotes independence through life skill development
  • Provided 1 to 1 am/or group support

Desmond House

  • Provides support to maintain optimal health and well-being
  • Aids in managing health care needs

Options & Opportunities

  • Honours participants’ interests, strengths, needs and preference
  • Respects everyone as a valued and contributing members of the community

Supported House

  • Provides emotion and physical well-being
  • Promotes quality of life for all residents

Skill Development

  • Employment and/or volunteering
  • Recreation and social activities

Post Field Visit

Our trip to Mount Paul Food Centre in November 2019 was interesting. We got the opportunity to look around the entre, their dining hall, their garden, their quaint farm, their composting corner, etc. We had a brief discussion on how everything is organized and set up for various events.

We got the opportunity to interview Grey Unger, a staff member at the Mount Paul Food Center who works at the Farmers Market that runs a food nutrition program in partnership with Mount Paul to get food to low-income families. He was a volunteer for Kamloops food counsel before he officially joined the organization as a Community Garden Coordinator. 

Greg shared some of his ideas about the organization and how it runs. He believes the most effective program is the Food Nutrition coupon program, which is better for families, each family gets 5 coupons every week to spend in the farmers market. Greg also shared his interest in volunteering and how rewarding it is, volunteers acquire healthy food knowledge and skills volunteering for the Mount Paul Food Center.

Greg also shared his ideas on Food Care, he believes it is an important aspect of the organization. The organization has reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Greg was a great source of information for what was to come in the future for Mount Paul. He has had past experience working as a volunteer at the center making him a great fit for his role at the center.

He gave his opinions on how we can improve our food security and how the center develops skills and the approach of the kitchen. Greg had a clear passion for what good the center does and with an individual who cares, I can only see a positive future for the programs at Mount Paul. Whether you are trying to learn to cook, hungry for a meal, eager to help or just helping out the local community. Mount Paul can take you in, make you welcome and cook you up one of their famous sensational soups.

It was an interesting experience and an amazing interview with Greg, the Mount Paul Community staffs were so friendly, welcoming us with open hearts and free spirit to take part in their upcoming events.

From our research as a group for the Mount Paul Food Centre, they appeared to do a great deal in the community and have kept their media accessible. There is plenty of material online to read and watch about the individual programs the center has to offer.

We also interviewed Community Resources Manager, Dawn Christie, who works for Interior Community Centre.

We found this to be a very helpful method of gathering our research content as we were given great insights on how many attend, how the programs help individuals and center has value in the community. She stated “We use food to help the community and those who dine alone or don’t have a family. We are a community, family, friendship and food security. a community for all.”

The program received great feedback and reviews we gathered. Dawn said “regular and first-time drop-in’s, positive feedback, 81% better access to food, 42% mental health, 86% belong to the community, 78% eating more fruits and vegetables

These are impressive percentages that allow us to see the stats on how much the center benefits the wellbeing of the surrounding community.

When entering the Food Center for the first time you get a really welcoming vibe from the kind staff. We were welcomed by Dawn and we were given the full tour. The center is very sustainable. The plants that are grown in addition to the compost are all organic products and also house seasonal chickens. The whole process is on display as the fresh produce can be taken straight into the kitchen ready to serve after the volunteers have used their developed food skills to cook a tasty meal for members.

There appeared to be a real sense of community in the center as everyone was engaged and helping one another. This behaviour is infectious of course and when you see in person the pride and joy the volunteers put in their work, it is for sure refreshing to see.