Collective kitchen project / Saint-Eustache
The Centre d’entraide Racine-Lavoie is an independent agency that has served the community since 1972. Its services meet the needs of residents of the greater region of the MRC de Deux-Montagnes. For about fifteen years, the LÉGER FOUNDATION has supported many of the agency’s food security, healthy eating and poverty prevention activities.
In its community, the Centre d’entraide Racine-Lavoie has become a leader in creating collective kitchens. Again this year, the agency started ten collective kitchen groups in the region. Anyone aged 18 to 85 who wants to cook can join a group to meet people and adopt a healthy diet. Participants have to pay two dollars for each meal. They meet twice a month and prepare four or five recipes. Each group is independent and responsible for its purchases and menu. To get additional food items, they can join The Good Food Box purchasing group program, which provides quality fruits and vegetables at a low cost.
The agency also runs a “lunch box” activity, or a special collective kitchen workshop to help parents prepare school lunches. The results have been positive: 9 groups active over 42 weeks have prepared 24,000 lunches that have fed about one hundred children.
The Centre d’entraide Racine-Lavoie primarily runs a food counter. As explained by Dominique Bastenier, the agency’s Executive Director:
“Most people who come to the food counter are going through a crisis. We see all kinds of individuals, families and single mothers. Even if your job pays above the minimum wage, when you have children, you can still find yourself in a difficult situation. When people come here, we can offer other food security services that work over the longer term. We want to help people to create healthy habits and eat healthy diets while improving their self-esteem and social integration. We try to address the situation from all sides.”
Without the important contribution of the LÉGER FOUNDATION, she believes that they would not be able to provide adequate food security resources to people in the MRC de Deux-Montagnes.