© Photo Courtesy of Kerr Street Mission
Kerr Street Mission (KSM), Oakville’s Mission of Hope, is a non-profit that provides a variety of essential services to low-income families in Oakville.
The KSM team has worked hard to focus on what their clients need. Rather than just distributing canned food and whatever other food was donated or reclaimed, the team developed the Choose Fresh program, which ensures healthy food options, fresh produce, and proteins are consistently available.
Choose Fresh is an innovative approach. One week, clients receive a curated pack of fresh produce, and the following week they receive a dozen eggs and their choice of milk and meat products. Protein is locally sourced and catered to meet the clients’ diverse dietary and cultural needs. Clients register and contribute a small portion of the cost monthly (25 percent), and KSM covers the remaining cost. The KSM team has established relationships with local suppliers to maximize buying value. Products vary week to week, and so the team consults with a local chef and nutritionist who provides clients with healthy recipes so they can learn how to utilize the fresh food they receive to cook meals for their families.
Over 250 families access KSM’s Food Market every week, representing approximately 700 individuals. As food prices have increased, the desire for affordable, quality, fresh food has grown among clients who want to eat healthily but can’t always afford to do so. As of March 2022, KSM had over 200 families registered for their Choose Fresh program, and the number of registrations has continued to increase every month. One client said, “[Choose Fresh] is such a huge help in accessing quality, healthy food for my family. I was getting to the point of cutting things off my grocery list because we couldn’t afford them. Because of this program, I’m still able to give my kids healthy fruits and vegetables as their snacks.”
Clients registered for Choose Fresh can also access the KSM Food Market weekly. They can receive reclaimed produce and protein, fresh bread, non-perishable food items, hygiene products, and delicious and nutritious take-home meals cooked by volunteers.
Through a variety of fundraisers and sponsors, KSM has been able to cover the costs for the Choose Fresh program. However, with the increase in registrations, KSM needs more sponsors to help provide quality, fresh food for the clients. This innovative program has had a significant impact on their clients’ health and wellbeing. One client said, “[Choose Fresh] has saved my life! Since starting at Kerr Street Market, I have completely changed the way I eat, and this program has improved my health, which has such a huge impact on my mental wellness as well.”
Please consider sponsoring a family by making a monthly donation to KSM’s Choose Fresh program. A $60 monthly (recurring) donation will make it possible for KSM to provide for an additional family. One hundred percent of your donation to the Choose Fresh program benefits clients as the funds will are used to purchase the fresh food for the program.