Posted by Paul Elsley, Kingston
Summary of Rotary Kingston’s COVID-19 Project
Collaboration between: Isthmus, Food Sharing Project & Rotary
Last year, over 16,000 children at 87 schools in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington  were fed at school either a snack, breakfast or lunch or in some cases all three through the food provided by The Food Sharing Project, and over 200 young students from five high-needs schools received small food hampers each weekend. Food insecurity is a serious concern in our community and, according to the Partners in Mission Food Bank here, of the participants in the Food Bank hamper program, a staggering 34% are children. With the onset of the pandemic, schools have been closed with no prospect of them reopening this academic year, so these children are not able to access food through established Student Nutrition Programs. Food Banks are trying to cope with an increased surge in demand and extended wait times.
The four Rotary clubs in Kingston and the two Rotaract clubs will collaborate on a project to feed food insecure children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer of 2020. The project involves fundraising to pay for the cost of purchasing food, volunteering with various tasks associated with the preparation and delivery of food hampers. Rotarians will partner with several community organizations. The Food Sharing Project (FSP) provides over 6 tons of nutritious food every week of the school year. Isthmus, a food-giving charity, bridges the gap between Friday and Monday for families of young students at five high-needs schools in the city of Kingston. The Limestone District and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic school boards provide communication to the families participating and collect information to enable the distribution to take place. Lionhearts supplies rescued food like bread and yogurt and donates the use of a van for picking up and distributing food.
When the schools were provincially mandated to be closed amidst the COVID-19 crisis, these programs had to rethink how to get food to these children (and their families). We had to develop a new model: Isthmus would prepare and deliver food boxes every other week directly to the homes and apartments of those in need, with supplemental food added by The Food Sharing Project. The food storage and packing of food boxes takes place at The Food Sharing Project’s warehouse; packing and delivery was done with a combination of staff and many volunteers through the various partner Rotary/ Rotaract Clubs.
Anyone wishing to support the project may do so through the Rotary Club of Kingston, Ontario (P.O. Box 484, Kingston, Ont. K7L 4W5) identifying any donation with “COVID-19 Project”. Tax receipts for donations will be provided. Other food security organizations doing wonderful food security work in our community include:
Lionhearts Inc On the options to leave a message – COVID-19 Rotary Clubs of Kingston Food Security Project
Isthmus, Be sure to direct your donation to the Kingston chapter
Rotary fighting food insecurity  choose Kingston – Partners in Mission food Bank
Thank you to Lunch by George - practicing safe food prep while still providing bagged meals for our most vulnerable!