Cherries from Toyota Giving Garden
The Food & Nutrition program at WCSWR is charged with ensuring our residents receive three nutritious, well balanced, meals every day. Soon after a woman’s arrival, our Food & Nutrition Coordinator meets with women to give them a tour of our kitchen and discuss any dietary needs (allergies, intolerances, medical, cultural, religious) they or their children may have.
At WCSWR women sometimes present with having suffered abuse that involved issues surrounding food and/or eating. Some traumatic experiences can include imposed food shopping, cooking or eating restrictions. Many women have suffered financial abuse and have not had the funds to adequately provide for themselves and their children. Women may also struggle with their relationship with food due to derogatory comments made by their abusive partners about their weight or eating habits.
“There is no joy in eating alone” – the Buddha, 543 BC
In addition to nourishing the body, our Food & Nutrition program recognizes that food warms the soul and enables positive connections. At Anselma and Haven Houses women can find meaningful connections as they prepare and share food together. Women often have the opportunity to experience and appreciate foods from other cultures. The Food & Nutrition program strives not only to provide the makings of a healthy balanced diet each day; women are also invited to participate in healthy eating education, and food skill development. The Food & Nutrition Coordinators also provide education, information and support around budgeting and where to find community resources for emergency and low cost food sources. All of these efforts support women’s physical and mental health, self-efficacy and healing.
When women are ready to leave the shelter community, they look forward to making a new home and setting up their own kitchen.
“It takes a village….”
The Food & Nutrition program at WCSWR could not meet our goals without the support and assistance of generous, caring community members. Although it’s likely not possible to name all who have assisted over the last year, we’d like to try. Our supports have included: the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank, KW Soup Sisters, Toyota’s Giving Garden, Loblaws, Church of Latter Day Saints, the Zonta Club of Cambridge, Soroptimist International Cambridge, Pi Food Store and International Eatery, the MediterraneoRestaurant, the Cambridge Conference Centre, Cambridge Homewood Suites, INTENT, numerous local church organizations, businesses, past residents, volunteers as well as individual community members. Thank you for your support the women and children we serve!
Donna, Lorie and Lisa