Since opening in 2008, the Crescent Valley Resource Centre (CVRC) has been bringing neighborhood residents together.
The Centre works with community partners and collaborates with residents and agencies to offer programs for children and adults including literacy initiatives, summer camps, health and wellness services and food security programs. They help inspire residents to improve their physical, social and economic health from within, by building on their strengths instead of their needs.
This year the Centre asked for a $6,000 grant from the Community Foundation and received $4,000.
The CVRC offers tools and information to increase food security to help create healthier lifestyles and healthier families. “Because the population we work with is low-income and most are living in poverty,” says Anne Driscoll, Executive Director of the centre, “many residents don’t have frequent access to healthy foods - including fresh fruits and vegetables, or may have a lack of knowledge on how to prepare healthy food choices.”
Good food, like milk, fruit and vegetables, is expensive. Crescent valley meets and works with residents through community engagement. “It helps to have something that might catch folks' attention and food is a great way to attract people,” says Driscoll.
Because of the high cost of groceries, the centre helps residents experiment with new recipes while giving them the opportunity to try whole, nutritious food. This year, the Centre implemented Healthy Sample Day. “We prepare a healthy and inexpensive dish,” says Driscoll, “It could be any meal, but it would be something residents might not normally make.” A meal is prepared at the Centre and samples, along with the recipe, are provided to residents around the neighbourhood.
They also pass out bottles of water with a message of the week that typically provides information about an upcoming event or program. This serves not only as exposure for the Centre, but also a way for employees and volunteers to meet people around the neighbourhood.
After learning the centre would be granted money this year, Driscoll says she “felt relief, and a great sense of comfort. I feel that we’ve communicated well with the Community Foundation. The people who work there really recognize that we’re doing a good job, that we’re serving the population effectively.
“It’s a great feeling knowing we make a difference in the neighbourhood and in people’s lives. It’s not about us, it’s about the impact we’re making on families' lives.”