Annual food drive in support of Living Rock Ministries for at risk youth

Annual food drive in support of Living Rock Ministries for at risk youth

living-rock

The Living Rock Food Bank (Underground Rock Shop) is the only youth-focused food bank in all of Hamilton and is the first point of contact for many youth and their families. As a part of the mission of the food bank, not only are the needs of youth met surrounding food and clothing, connections are also made to other
Living Rock and community services, such as: educational, recreational, informational, social and employment programs. These programs address poverty by reducing barriers and helping youth to realize and recognize their strengths, increase social supports and make connections with needed resources. This entry point is often the beginning of forming trusting relationships for youth with members of the food bank team that leads to building foundations to help youth-at-risk securely grow.

In 2015, the Food Bank has been strongly supported by 78 volunteers and 26 students that are hard working, passionate and dedicated to the youth we serve. The food bank would not be able to operate without their ongoing support.

The Living Rock Food Bank also provides:
One to One Support
Nutrition and Budgeting Programs
Connection to Wellness Works Coordinator
Baby Products and Hygiene items
Christmas Hampers and other Holiday Special Events

“I always feel like I am treated with dignity and respect when I shop here. I don’t feel like I am just another person standing in line waiting for food”. -Youth

This is the 7th year that the Weekend Food Bank has been open at the Living Rock. Youth attendance of this program has increased dramatically over the years. This increase is a result of the following:

· Heightened youth awareness of the Weekend Food Bank Program
· Youth in school or working are accessing the Program, instead of leaving early or not attending
responsibilities in order to access a food bank during the week before it closes
· Street involved youth, those that are homeless or without a permanent address who used the Weekend Program started accessing the food bank only when it was open on the weekend
· Youth value the atmosphere because it is quieter and less crowded
· Youth appreciate personal connection with staff
· Personal conversations help youth to get their needs met, obtain support and referrals
· One-to-one connections provide a forum for youth to move past their barriers
· Two primary staff have backgrounds in Social Work

This model has been proven successful especially for youth with mental health issues as well as for those who struggle with several other difficulties. The atmosphere of the weekend food bank program allows these youth to visit for food, clothing and hygiene products in a setting that is often less stressful for them.

The success of the food bank has been dependent on community donors, such as, churches, businesses,
individual donors and fundraisers such McMaster Meal Exchange (who has provided 14,200 pounds of food over the last five years) during a time when the food bank supply was low.

“It’s nice to know I have somewhere to shop for food on the weekends, because I work all week.” – youth
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm
Saturday 1:30pm – 6:30pm

2015 Statistics*
(Weekday & Weekend together)

6,031 Total number of youth visits
350 Number of visits by individual female youth
231 Number of visits by individual male youth
197 Total number of visits by individual
children and youth under 18
640 Total number of parenting youth visits
51,130 Total poundage of food handed out

Summary

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