Oct. 16th Walkathon to Help Our Hungry Neighbours

Pupils from Elgin Street Public School helping raise supplies for the Food Centre. The walkathon to support the Centretown Emergency Food Centre takes place Oct. 16. Photo by Stephan Pham.

Pupils from Elgin Street Public School helping raise supplies for the Food Centre. The walkathon to support the Centretown Emergency Food Centre takes place Oct. 16. Photo by Stephan Pham.

By Patricia Marsden Dole and Kristine Burr

Come join a walkathon to support the Centretown Emergency Food Centre, and get some exercise too!

The Food Centre, at 507 Bank St. is a vital resource to many people living in central Ottawa. Its catchment area runs from Wellington Street to Billings Bridge, and from Lyon Street in the west to Main Street, including Lees Avenue, in the east.

Members of 23 central Ottawa churches (several in Old Ottawa East) supply food and financial donations regularly. The Food Centre distributes a supply of groceries once a month to people in need. Located in the basement of Centretown United Church (Bank at Argyle), it served nearly 10,000 people in 2015.

In addition, the Centre connects clients to other services available in the city and offers a healthy-eating cooking demonstration program. It relies on a host of volunteers drawn from across central Ottawa and beyond. University students in social work programs do placements at the Food Centre regularly.

In spite of generous support from central Ottawa churches, the Ottawa Food Bank, food drives, and an annual grant from the city, demand is outstripping resources. Food prices are going up, as are client numbers, partly because of added emergency shelters in the catchment area, itself partly due to temporary housing in Centretown for government-supported refugees

People in our community can help the Food Centre by joining a short three-kilometre Walkathon on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m., starting and ending at city hall. Registration will begin at 1:30 p.m. with local musicians contributing music before the walk begins. The route will take people along the canal and around Parliament Hill, a great location for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

Walkathon organizer, Elizabeth Kent feels the walk is also about raising awareness of the needs in our central Ottawa community, and the important role the Food Centre plays in supporting those in need.

“This is really about neighbours helping neighbours,” she said. “We would welcome walkers of all ages.”

If you can’t come yourself, you can support a walker with a donation for which you will receive a tax receipt. Further information, an online registration form, and a donation form, can be found at:  www.centretownchurches.org.

Organizers are hoping the idea of a gentle walk and a good cause will attract residents and businesses from all over the catchment area – Old Ottawa South, the Glebe, Old Ottawa East, and Centretown.

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Filed in: Community Groups, Education, FP Tags: , ,

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