Ma'Qa'th Food Program

Author: Jenica Ng-Cornish

Every Tuesday afternoon, a food bank program called Ma'Qa'th Food Program is hosted at the Snaw-naw-as Health Centre, adjacent to the Garden of Spiritual Healing, which was constructed by the MABRRI team in collaboration with Snaw-naw-as First Nation. I am fortunate enough to help facilitate the food bank program each week. The program is organized by the Nation and aims to provide food security to community members. To date, I have attended 5 of the food banks and look forward to attending them for the rest of the summer. My role usually consists of setting up the tables and food before community members arrive, and then assisting community members in their food choices. Produce, meat, dairy, canned goods, breakfast foods, pasta, rice and a variety of snack foods are typically available to choose from. Last week there was even an entire box of toothpaste, which was greatly appreciated! Jessica, one of MABRRI’s Project Coordinators, fills boxes of food for families who are not able to come to the food bank and personally delivers each of them to their homes. She carefully considers the families’ food preferences and aims to provide them with the most nutritious options.

So far, this has been a great learning and growing experience for me. Understanding more about First Nations culture has always been something I’ve wanted to achieve. Now, through interactions with members of Snaw-naw-as First Nation and visiting their community, I am gaining more knowledge about their traditional culture. I am also witnessing first-hand that food security is an issue that cannot be ignored. Some weeks, there is a long line-up that overflows outside the building of community members waiting to fill up their bags with food to feed their families.

However, something that I find really uplifting is that almost everyone who comes through the door is in good spirits and ready for a chat and a laugh. The sense of community and welcoming environment always has me leaving at the end of the day in a good mood. When I go each week, it hardly feels like work since I am socializing with fellow volunteers and community members as they pass through the food bank. I am starting to get to know some of the ‘regulars’ and am very grateful that I’ve been given the chance to meet some really great people!