Over the Easter weekend, The Salvation Army in Kentville was hopping with activities that were enjoyed by more than 100 kids across the community.
"We were excited to host our third annual Easter Egg Hunt with eager youth volunteers playing a vital role in its success," say Captain Josh Downer. "Each year, we learn more about how to make this great event better, and look forward to bringing the community together to celebrate Easter."
Kids were busy filling their event passports with checks from each game station in hope of wining a prize Easter basket. While only one person would walk away with the basket, everyone at the egg hunt enjoyed treat bags, colouring activities, and an opportunity to fill their bellies with yummy carrot soup provided by Sharing Our Ugly Produce (S.O.U.P).
S.O.U.P is program developed in partnership with The Salvation Army in Kentville, the Community Health Board, and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). This program relies on edible community gardens in Kerrville and Berwick, and works to increase awareness of food security by growing and sharing produce. Between the two gardens, 4,000 square feet of raised beds are growing nutritious vegetables for these Valley communities.
"Each Friday, we prepare and serve soup for the community made by vegetables grown in our two gardens," says Sarah MacDonald, job developer with CMHA and volunteer with The Salvation Army. "It's not only about feeding nutritious meals to those in need. We also have the opportunity to teach life skills, like cooking and food preparation, to those assisting in The Salvation Army kitchen."
Food literacy and security is an issue that touches people across all income levels. Affordable, fresh produce is often out of reach for individuals with low incomes. This can mean the choice between a healthy or affordable option-a choice than can often lead to two vastly different health outcomes. All communities benefit when everyone has access to healthy and sustainable food options.
"We take a strategic approach to giving back to the community in a way that is helpful and sustainable," says MacDonald. "The desire is to see community gardens in each town directly contributing to food security for those in need, because one action in the community creates multiple ripples."