For the past two years, the Perth-based Table Community Food Centre has worked towards establishing a satellite facility in Smiths Falls.
Named the Falls Food Hub, this new location aims to replicate many of the programs currently offered by The Table in Perth, including community meals, community navigation services, and food skills programs.
Securing a permanent location for the Hub marked a significant milestone achieved last year; the next steps will be raising adequate funds to outfit the new space with a commercial kitchen and dining room, and to commence regular programming.
In a media release, The Table says it’s looking to secure $450,000 to cover both the capital costs of renovation and the first year of operation.
In 2023, the organization’s fundraising efforts secured a $50,000 Learning Engagement & Accelerator Fund (L.E.A.F.) grant. Administered by The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group.
“We believe in fostering strength and resilience within the communities we serve, and this year’s projects are positioned to make a lasting positive impact,” stated Tim Shauf, Commonwell president in the release. L.E.A.F.’s mission is simple: cultivate community resilience and capacity through program development and facility/resource upgrades in places where residents learn, play, engage, and gather.
“We are incredibly grateful to Commonwell Mutual for the L.E.A.F. Grant” stated Ramsey Hart, executive director of The Table. “It takes us a big step closer to realizing our goal of opening the Falls Food Hub in 2024. The community is ready and anxious to see this happen. Our weekly lunch, community kitchens and youth food skills programs have all been very well received and we can’t wait to be able to offer more programming to the community from our own dedicated space.”
Further support came from Smiths Falls Town Council, which allocated $16,183 from its Community Grants Program towards the Falls Food Hub. Hart acknowledged the ongoing support from the town’s staff, council, and mayor.
The L.E.A.F. and Smiths Falls grants complemented generous contributions from Canopy Growth, Topps Environmental Solutions, G&N Contracting, and numerous individual donors. With $75,000 committed from The Table’s reserves, a total of $222,000 has been secured thus far.
Fundraising efforts continue, and The Table welcomes anyone interested in getting involved to contact them. Donations can be made online via The Table’s website or by sending a check to their address in Perth, Ontario.