Sharing and celebrating food with seniors at events across the province.
Through 2014-2016 Food First NL, in partnership with community groups in all four Regional Health Authorities, supported 55 Seniors Food Celebrations across the province. The idea behind the celebrations was a simple one: to create a space for seniors to share, celebrate, and learn about food issues and skills that mattered to them.
The idea was simple, but for the seniors involved, the impact was anything but.
Through this work, Food First NL and its partners made space for 2,300 seniors to come together in unique ways that met the needs and desires of each community. More than just a nourishing meal in a welcome setting, these events brought people together to share food and celebrate in each other's company. Sharing food in this way is a powerful experience, and many organizers noted that the social inclusion and mental wellness benefits were among the highest valued outcomes of the celebrations.
The celebrations gave seniors an opportunity to learn new food skills, share their knowledge, and become better connected to existing provincial resources, like the Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging resource. They also gave Food First NL a chance to form partnerships with seniors groups, local leaders, and municipalities, expanding our reach across the province.
In 2015-2016 in particular, the celebrations gave Food First NL an opprtunity to connect seniors into our Everybody Eats dialogue, discussing the food issues that mattered to them and solutions they thought could work. The events brought seniors, who might otherwise be isolated socially and restricted in their access to healthy food, into the provincial dialogue about food security in a big way.
Funding support for the Seniors Celebrate Food Program came from the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development, of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.