Recently, we have started the Neighbor Advisory Committee so that the staff, volunteers and board members can better understand how we are affecting change for the 700+ neighbors that we serve in our catchment area. The first two meetings have provided a lot of feedback as to what is going well and what could be improved.
So far we only have four members, but they have truly opened our eyes, while providing a unique perspective on the events and projects that happen at the Parkdale Food Centre.
We hope to provide regular updates as to what is happening regarding these meetings.
The members who have attended have voiced their concerns over the lack of information regarding our food bank hours on the front page. A lot of people who need access ask their workers from Ontario Works or other networks about where they can access services like the food bank, showers, cooking classes, drop in lunches, or storage lockers. In the age of technology where almost everyone has access to the internet, this information is best kept at everyone’s fingertips. A calendar of events that is user friendly and regularly updated is also helpful for our neighbors in need.
Neighbors Feel Included and Not Judged
On the positive side, neighbors also appreciate how much this centre has removed a lot of stigma that surrounds people who need to access the food bank. They feel that they are included in activities and the general goings on. They love that volunteers are understanding of everyone’s background, whether it is because they are low income, living in the shelter, or are living with mental health issues. It’s great to see that the environment we have created is appreciated by those who use it.
Visit Reviews or Testimonials
A very interesting idea that was put forth was to add a user experience rating section or page where testimonials can be added. It was mentioned that some people are afraid to use the food bank for fear of being judged. There is still severe stigma that surrounds those who are forced to use food bank, and we want to advertise that they do not have to worry about coming in.