Published February 18, 2020 18:23
If food brings people together, kitchens are the vehicles to the destination.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada understand the need for a high-quality, functional cooking space, especially when it comes to delivering its daily food program to children.
This is why the national organization partnered with goeasy to upgrade 100 club kitchens in Canada over 10 years. The renovation project at Gilbert Park Club (35 Gilbert Ave.), unveiled Feb. 7, brought goeasy — an alternative financial company which runs easyfinancial and easyhome — halfway to its goal.
"Food is a critical component of our club programs. Often kids come to the club because this is their one meal of the day that they can count on. So preparing food, having food available — that’s a really big part of our program," said Ron Brown, president and chief executive officer of Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg.
"And what I love about these kitchen renovations that they do for us is they don’t make it look like a commercial kitchen; they make it look like a kitchen in our home. For the kids that come here, this is kind of like their second home."
Gilbert Park Club provides more than 50 snacks and meals every day throughout the year.
The new kitchen is brighter, cleaner, has a larger fridge, and plenty of storage space — features the previous room lacked, according to Heather Black, director of community engagement.
"I know that the kids really feel good about their very new and vibrant kitchen that they get to work in," she said.
Alyssa Dueck, a manager at one of goeasy’s easyfinancial branches in Winnipeg, is a former volunteer at Gilbert Park Club.
"A few years ago I was the basketball coach… and being a part of that was just so much fun. I got to know the kids, I got to know the community. And being a part of the club here, specifically, the kitchen was always the most exciting part of the day. They would come back from school: ‘What’s for snack? What’s for snack? When’s basketball practice?’ They got to fuel up. That way if they didn’t necessarily have something at home, no matter what they’d get a meal here after school always," Dueck said.
Ryerson Boys and Girls Club in Fort Richmond also recently received a kitchen upgrade. The kitchen renovation initiative is part of goeasy’s easybites campaign.
"At goeasy we’re committed to making a meaningful difference in the communities where we live and work," Jason Mullins, president and chief executive officer of goeasy, said in a press release.
"And our vision is to provide every day Canadians with a path to a better tomorrow, so every time we turn a completed kitchen back over to the club, we feel a sense of pride to have played a small part in strengthening the community today and into the future."