We’re hiring! Food Rescue Coordinator

Do you believe that healthy food is a human right, and that food can be a powerful tool for creating resilient, connected people and neighbourhoods? Parkdale Food Centre is looking for a dynamic team member to lead the onboarding of food donors and social service agencies to expand Foodrescue.ca throughout Ottawa, in partnership with Second Harvest.

The Food Rescue Coordinator will be responsible for engaging food donors (including retailers, restaurants and other food service businesses) and social service organisations that require food (this could range from emergency food service providers to organisations that simply want to supplement snacks) within the City of Ottawa in recovering food utilizing the Foodrescue.ca platform. The Coordinator will also train donor and receiving agency employees and volunteers on best practice use of Foodrescue.ca. We are looking for a candidate with an outgoing personality, able to communicate clearly and enthusiastically with a wide variety of people to gain support for food rescue.


  • Cultivate, nurture, and build positive relationships with food businesses and social service agencies in order to solicit participation in the Food Rescue Program
  • Visit participating donors and recipients to provide technical support, onboarding, training and problem-solving
  • Support the planning and coordination of activities for this new program
  • Collect and maintain accurate records of activities and submit monthly reports
  • Identify and evaluate risks associated with program activities and take appropriate action
  • Build ongoing relationships with agencies to further expand food rescue

Experience, skills and qualifications:

  • Experience with program management and implementation (2+ years)
  • Experience working with community social service agencies or in the non-profit sector
  • Experience building and maintaining relationships across a large cross-section of partners
  • Experience with monthly and quarterly reporting and excellent record keeping; the preferred candidate will be able to demonstrate a professional history of having done similar work.
  • Demonstration of volunteer management
  • Knowledge of Ottawa’s food, farming and restaurant community
  • Outstanding ability to work independently
  • Aptitude for technology with willingness to patiently educate others on functionality
  • Skills in providing training
  • Valid Class G driver’s license with access to vehicle that can be used for frequent travel (mileage compensated)
  • As passion for food justice and environmentalism

The following would be an asset for this position:

  • Bilingualism
  • Sales experience within the food industry
  • Safe Food Handling Certification

This position is a full-time, 8-month contract with funding until 31 December 2019. The nature of work means that the Coordinator must be able to work some flexible hours, including evenings and weekends as required. The person should be ready to start ASAP.

Compensation: $39,000 – $40,000 annually commensurate with experience

Closing Date:

Interested applicants may forward their resume and cover letter in confidence no later than Friday March 29, 2019 to work@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Parkdale Food Centre is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We thank all applicants for their interest in this position. Only applicants considered for an interview will be contacted.

Fork Off! February 2019

Article written by Deb Abbott. Thank you to Sarah Stewart for the photos!

Have you ever tried to prepare a meal just using ingredients from a Food Bank? That’s the challenge that two of Ottawa’s finest chefs faced when they participated in the Parkdale Food Centre’s ‘Fork Off!’ Competition.  Knowing that Parkdale Food Centre stocks food from Canada’s Food Guide is helpful and means there will be fresh ingredients including fresh protein. But still –  preparing a three course restaurant style meal for judges can be pretty intimidating, especially when you normally have a fully stocked kitchen with fancy equipment and all the pots and pans that you would ever need.

Almost three  weeks ago Chef Patrick Garland from Absinthe was defending his title against Chef Tim Stock from Thyme and Again – Chef Garland had won the Fork Off twice before and was defending his title.  Both Chefs arrived early to check out the contents of the Food Bank at Parkdale Food Centre only to find meagre offerings – after a busy week of helping neighbours the shelves were low.  There were canned sardines, canned salmon, canned legumes, lentils, rice, canned tomatoes, peanut butter, baby food, and dried pasta. And in the fridge there was some fresh chicken, fish and ground beef as well an assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables plus three challenge vegetables that if they could incorporate into their dishes, they would receive bonus points. Do you know what Chinese Okra, Lila Malanga or Opal Squash are?  Not your run of the mill ingredients you find in a restaurant kitchen but ingredients that Parkdale Food Centre receives regularly from Produce Depot donations and Chef Simon from our kitchen must come up with some inventive ways to prepare.

The Chefs also  each brought along a sous chef, Chef Garland had his young nephew while Chef Stock recruited his wife who by day is a kindergarten teacher.  Each Chef had ten minutes to shop and then an hour to prepare at least three courses.  The tension was high in the kitchen as the guests crowded around to watch; imagine being less than ten feet away and watching the battle unfold. If you were at a restaurant you would pay well over $100 a person to attend such an event.  But tickets for this event go for a low price of $40 per person. And the entertainment value can’t be beaten.  Plus, before the event began  there was  amazing selection of appetizers and sweets from Thyme & Again, Urban Element, Marcie’s Cafe, Chef Simon Bell, Sarah Stewart, and Deb Abbott. Dominion City provided a wonderful selection of beer.



The judges and guests were treated to delicious dishes from both Chefs – dishes like butter chicken with pear baby food, served over sautéed kale in Opal Squash boats and Pakoras fried up just perfectly with rice flour.  Chicken stuffed with a mixture that included butternut squash baby food.  Most dishes used the Thirteen Social Enterprise spice blends adding a delicious warmth and depth of flavour.   And we received a generous donation of beautiful Olive Oil from the local Hintonburg business Aurelius Food to enhance each of the dishes.  The competition was stiff between the two Chefs but in the end Chef Stock won by a margin of just two points. What a night!

If you are looking for a great evening out, where you can eat amazing food, enjoy lots of entertainment with battling Chefs, and want to support the Parkdale Food Centre boy do we have a deal for you.  And all the money raised for this event goes towards kitchen programs. Watch out on the the Parkdale Food Centre web site and on our social media pages for the date of the next event. You won’t be disappointed!

Thanks to Deb for this article and to Sarah Stewart for the pictures below.

An epic battle between Absinthe's Pat Garland and Thyme and Again's Tim Stock

Posted by Parkdale Food Centre on Sunday, February 24, 2019


An international love story for the Parkdale Food Centre

I came to Canada from Australia for love in July 2014 and was getting to know my local area in the weeks after I arrived. As I was reading local news, I came across articles about this local firebrand, Karen Secord, who was saying that we shouldn’t be giving out Kraft Dinner to people because their health was worth more than that. I turned to my (then) boyfriend and said: “What is Kraft Dinner?” and the response was “It’s one lab accident away from being plastic; you don’t want to eat that!”

With that comment, I thought, I’d like to get to know this Karen Secord. I traipsed down to the old location at 89 Stonehurst and the woman with the red hair that I had seen on CTV greeted me with a huge smile. As I was being shown around, there were some people cooking in the small church kitchen. At that point, Karen was distracted (as is often the case!) and took one of the kitchen volunteers with her. I washed my hands and continued chopping onions where the other person had left off – and the rest is history.

Lunch made by Susan at 89 Stonehurst on 25 November 2014

For three months, every Tuesday and Thursday myself and two other volunteers made lunch. Soups, stews, muffins, whatever we had to work with that day – we turned it into something healthy and nutritious for the neighbours. When the time came for PFC’s big move to Rosemount Ave, Karen and (still) boyfriend and I stayed up until midnight the day after Halloween, blaring Michael Jackson and painting the walls that lovely yellow which is officially called “Harvest Gold”.

Sarah Stewart, Louise Fortier and Susan at 89 Stonehurst on 27 November, 2014

Unexpectedly, (now) husband and I moved to Washington D.C in July 2015 and I spent three years working at the Embassy of Canada. During this time, we continued to be monthly donors to PFC, and I thought about the centre a lot, especially when observing the homeless who sleep rough outside the Embassy. I thought a lot about how the services that existed for them in DC were not adequate, and how amazing it would be if they had a place like PFC.

I often look at the neighbours at PFC and think of my own parents who made the journey to Australia in the 1980s. While they have become the definition of a success story – the early years were hard. If a place like PFC had existed, perhaps it would have made it a little easier for them: somewhere where they would have been welcomed, could have shared their food and stories and become more of a part of a community. Parkdale Food Centre has been described as a ‘miracle’ by our neighbours. I don’t think that is hyperbole.

The kitchen on 2 December 2014, 4 days before move in day. What a change!

I’m now very proud to be an employee of PFC, as the Ottawa Food Network Coordinator, helping the 8 other organisations in our network bring the same joy to their communities, as we bring to ours. Together we are collaboratively supporting our members to increase the provision of fresh, healthy food, to bolster local donations to their cause, to change the notion that food-banking should be normal.

My story is an international story of love for PFC but it’s also an illustration of how a person can be at once a volunteer, a donor and an employee. Parkdale Food Centre is a place where we don’t have to fit into a box and where involvement is not tied only to one role.

Today, December 6th 2018, is the 4th year anniversary of that fateful move to Rosemount Ave, and on this occasion, I encourage those in our community to come in and visit! Stop by, have a coffee and talk to your neighbours. I also encourage you to please donate to our cause. We are only as strong as the incredible community of people who support us. At the end of each year it is always challenging to know whether we have enough to keep the lights on. Becoming a monthly donor helps us know what our cash-flow is throughout the year and empowers us to keep on doing the work we’re doing to make our community stronger and healthier, together.

All About Food Community Walk-A-Thon

The Parkdale Food Centre is happy to be participating in the All About Food Community Walk-A-Thon. On Sunday, October 16th, registration and pledge drop off starts at 12:30 pm at the Dalhousie Food Cupboard (211 Bronson Ave.). The walk begins at 1pm and will end at the Parkdlae United Church.

The walk is 2.5 km long, and maps will be provided at the starting point.

Agency tours will be offered so you can learn more about the important work we do.

Light refreshment will also be provided.

The walk-a-thon will also be supporting St. Luke’s Table, the Parkdale United Church, and the Dalhousie Food Cupboard.

Below is information regarding this wonderful event!


Walkathon event details sheet

Walkathon pledge sheet

4th Annual Parkdale Food Centre Community BBQ

It all started  on Monday the same week. The excitement could be sensed in everyone’s words, and actions. The question that was trending was, “ are you coming to the barbecue?” or even “ do you know about the barbecue happening this Wednesday?” And that was only when they were talking because they were all busy working on something. From getting the barbecues ready to tidying up the place, without mentioning any of the kitchen duties, they were at it, they had to make it happen and it had to be done properly. Responsibilities were shared. Phone calls were being answered, orders picked up, cupboard checked twice, hamburger patties made, drinks made or bought, nothing was missing.

Then came the big day, Wednesday, July 13th. One would have thought that people were stressed but no, they were as casual as they can ever be. Knowing what they had to do and filling in on other tasks when need be.

As early as 9 am, they had started setting up already, and as soon as the set up was done, the fire was set up to the grills and the good smell of deliciousness paired with the live music were invading the whole neighborhood.

Just as last year, a section of the road was closed. This not only made it safe for people to dance and seat on the street, but it also attracted groups of passer-by putting an emphasis on PFC and it’s impact on the community.

The weather was great with a high of 32 and a low of 20. Funny how it started raining right when we were taking down the last tent ( proof that the weather was collaborative).

This year’s BBQ was generously supported by the Resurrection Church, which enabled us to buy all of the necessary items, including all of the hamburger and hotdog buns, watermelon, and salad ingredients. With these funds, we were also able to pay the wonderful band! The church also brought over their blue Imagination Blocks which the kids absolutely loved.

Just as well, we could not go without thanking the stores that generously donated their products. We find in this category Absinthe and Saslove meat shop, for their amazing burgers, Holland’s cake and shake for the giant cake they provided us with, and the Merry Dairy for their variety of ice cream. One can surely say that this year’s barbecue was a success, and all that, of course, would not be possible without the support of our community, and the hard work of the volunteers.

Blog post by Thiena Corlie Gapfasoni ~ Photos by Nancy 


Branching Out Gala – Amazing success!

On Thursday June 23rd, we hosted our third annual Gala – Branching Out – at the GCTC. We were thrilled with the location which gave us more space for our amazing crowd to mix and mingle.   The crowd was a great mix of donors, foodies, volunteers, Board Members, community supporters and some neighbours were thrilled to attend thanks to some tickets that were donated.  Our goal was to raise $20,000 which would pay for two months of our summer grocery bills.  We came tantalizingly close at $17,800.  We were thrilled with the generosity of everyone who attended and are determined next year will be the year we break $20,000!  Our shelves will be stocked over the summer months when we typically struggle to keep up with demand when many of our donors are away on summer vacations.

Photo by Paula Roy

We couldn’t put on the event without the amazing generosity of our food and drink providers.  Food stations by Absinthe, Allium, Bar Laurel, DISH, Holland’s Cake & Shake, Supply and Demand, Thyme & Again, and Urban Element.  Folks were raving about the food all night.  

Daniel Ramjattan brought his amazing Cuban guitar music.  We also thank the crew at GCTC including Amelia and Catharine for being wonderful to work with.  A special thanks to Sheila Whyte for donating a crew of amazing servers from Thyme & Again which kept the evening flowing perfectly.  

Beyond the Pale generously provided an array of delicious local brews and guests enjoyed wine provided by Diamond Estate Winery c/o Liam Doody and Reif Estate Winery c/o Roger Linton/Linarc Consulting.  

The Silent Auction tables upstairs and downstairs were busy with amazing prizes.  Bidding was fierce!  We were thrilled with the generosity of local business owners who provided great prizes to help us meet our fundraising target.  The hottest prize of the night went to a Private Shopping Experience by Twiss & Weber followed closely by an amazing travel credit provided by VIA Rail.  Other great prizes included donations from Gallery 3, Uproar Paint and Paper, Diane and Jen, and Escape Manor were just a few of the generous donors who provided prizes for the auction.  We had many happy prize winners at the end of the night and a few folks regretting they hadn’t placed that last bid in time!

It was wonderful to have 13Muesli on hand to both give out samples during the evening and also hand out a bag as a thank you to all the party goers on the way out.  They are close to wrapping up their year and we were bursting with pride to see their confidence in sharing with folks what the program has meant to them.

Our community helpers from Fisher Park Summit were there to greet folks at the door and also helped to raise enthusiasm at our Photo wall.  These helpers volunteer regularly at our Centre and truly understand the various programs we offer our neighbours.

We were also happy to have a video crew lead by Roberta Bouchard with camera folks Ryan and Nick.  We got some great clips of guests chatting about the Centre and please watch for a new video coming up where we share the thoughts out to you all.

The Photo wall was new for us.  A way to share all the different programs we offer to our neighbours.  It was also wonderful to read the many thoughtful responses to the questions of Parkdale is … , Food is…, Hunger is… and Community is….. . We took all the amazing responses and are planning to display them up on the walls of the Centre very soon.

When we look at how far this event has come in three years it is reflective of how far the Parkdale Food Centre has come.  The supporters are many but the need remains.  It’s our largest event of the year but we feel the community support.  Thanks to all of you for letting us raise the funds we need to support your neighbours.

Until next year!

Photos below by JR Photography

Neighbor Advisory Committee Meeting

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.

Website Changes

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.

Three summer jobs for students available at PFC

We are thrilled to announce a call for applications from high school, college and university students to work with us in July and August. Candidates should be comfortable working independently and taking initiative. They should also understand the challenges faced by our neighbours or be interested in learning about them.
Please send your resume to: karen@parkdalefoodcentre.org by 6pm on Friday, June 17. Interviews will be held on June  22

The Nature of Giving

Nature was the prominent theme as Cindy Scott and Roger Bryanton hosted their second annual ‘pop up’ Art Show and Sale in support of the Parkdale Food Centre. Once again, local artists Christopher Griffin and Nicole Allen donated 15% of the evening’s sales to support PFC’s “good food” programs for neighbours in need.

Nicole’s brilliant florals, dramatic landscapes, and cheeky birds were a popular choice as guests got a head start on their holiday shopping. Two ‘big birds’- “Old Soul” and “The Optimist”- kept a close eye on the action as buyers snapped up Nicole’s blooming vases, rugged nature scenes, and feisty feathered friends.

Fresh from completing two major installations at the new Glebe Mobility Hub and Pomeroy House restaurant, Christopher offered art lovers an array of haunting nudes, original cement etchings and an eclectic selection of vibrant street scenes and animal life inspired by recent travels to Cuba, Panama, and locales closer to home, like Patterson Creek and Brown’s Inlet.

The evening included first time art buyers (and newlyweds!), avid collectors, holiday shoppers and those who simply wanted to appreciate the talent and creativity of two very dedicated and generous artists.

The event raised over $2000 in just over 4 hours – funds that will make a big difference over the holiday season and as Parkdale Food Centre plans its programs for 2016.

Thanks to Cindy, Roger, Christopher and Nicole for demonstrating the true nature of giving.

Learn more about Nicole Allen: Website | Facebook 

Learn more about Christopher Griffin: Website | Facebook


Nicole Allen and Christopher Griffin


First time art buyers – and newlyweds!



First time art buyers – and newlyweds!


Cindy Scott, Nicole Allen & Virginia Vince of Bloomfields Flowers


We now accept donations of securities

The Parkdale Food Centre is happy to announce that we are now accepting donations of stocks and mutual funds.  We have set up this new donation method because of requests from donors.

The reason most people are interested in giving securities is that the tax on capitals gains are now reduced to zero.  Since June 2006 individuals can donate appreciated securities without paying any capital gains tax.  You receive a tax receipt for the full value of the shares.  This is more efficient than selling the securities and donating the cash proceeds.

We also are able to accept securities donations left to us by people in their wills.  This allows you to reduce the tax burden on your estate.

To help visualize here is an example:

Mary paid $1,000 for shares in Corporation A. Because they are now worth $6,000, her capital gain is $5,000. By donating the shares to Parkdale Food Centre, she pays no capital gains tax. She receives a charitable donation receipt of $5,000, which she can apply against other income. 

If you are interested in having a conversation with us about donating securities please email our Treasurer,france@parkdalefoodcentre.org.  Alternatively you can call us and we’ll take it from there!

Our policy is to sell the shares as soon as we receive them.  We then issue a tax receipt for the value of the proceeds – less any transaction fees.