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Reflections on a Year: Let’s Build a Bigger Table

To CSHFB Staff, Volunteers, Supporters, and Members:

I wanted to share with you that today marks exactly one year since I started my role as Executive Director here at the CSHFB. In so many ways it feels so much longer than a year. I know that I’m a changed person from my time here, and I thank you for the part each of you have played in my personal growth and learning.

And of course, I thank you for coming along with me on this journey. It’s been a year of transition, change, and accomplishment:

  •       Some colleagues and friends we’ve said goodbye to, and so many wonderful new colleagues and friends to learn and be inspired from.
  •       So much work we have done to make our building brighter, bolder, cleaner, more welcoming, and more efficient, including all of the painting, the beautiful artwork on the walls, the updates to the Community Pantry, the Food Hub, a rebuilt utility deck, and of course the Children’s Wellness Hub – thank you for all of the elbow grease and for everyone who holds the space so dear.
  •       New projects, such as the Children’s Wellness Hub, Seed Share, and Food Savers; program enhancements such as with the Grandparent’s Group and all of our wonderful peer and nutrition programs like Global Kitchen.
  •       Some areas didn’t see wholesale change, but continue to make incremental changes to improve the way we serve our community, including improvements to the Food Co-operative.
  •       Some areas haven’t changed but have seen increased use, including our Kitchen, where more and more people are coming to learn about nutrition and cook and eat together with their neighbours.  
  •       Growth in our social media, which helps us interact more with our community; a new website, and lots of great stories about our work in the media.  

I’m sure I have missed many milestones and markers here, and I’m sorry if I left anyone or anything out.

Of course, there have been many challenges in our way. There have been lots of ups and downs, including serving more people who are facing increasingly complex and challenging circumstances. The fact is that our community is changing, and we need to adapt and respond to it.

We also can’t only be responsive; we also need to see the future and see where we want to go as a Food Bank and as an organization.

What leadership can we provide to a community that is struggling, often divided, and feeling uncertain about its future? What message can we send to inspire people to care more for their neighbours; to inspire radical generosity; to open closed hearts? To show our community that more is accomplished through compassion, hospitality, and kindness, than through stigma, generalization, and building walls. I hope messages like the one attached – when you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence – will be concepts we can unite around as we work to not only serve our community, but work towards a better community for all.

Thank you for the welcome, the care, the kindness, and the acceptance you have shown me this last year, and that you show to our community members each and every day. Not every day feels like a good day, I know that; but I also know that each day, each of you makes a positive impact in someone’s life. Please don’t ever lose sight of that.

Yours in kindness,

Cameron

Author Cameron Dearlove

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