Riversyde 83: Easing Food Insecurity with Support from LCIF

Being able to fully grasp how deeply hunger affects lives can be difficult if you have not faced it yourself. Almost 1 billion people worldwide experience food insecurity and in Haldimand and Norfolk County, Canada, one in nine households are food insecure due to poverty. 

Addressing the issue of hunger, however, is not just about numbers. To truly make a difference, hunger relief must be approached with empathy and innovative action. For Lions around the world, this means building effective partnerships with organizations like Riversyde 83 Community Food Hub. Riversyde 83, in West Haldimand, Ontario, is Norfolk County’s new food-focused community center, and it is changing lives. 

This center includes an area for at-risk youth to learn cooking skills and receive certifications to boost their job-hunting opportunities. Plus, there is a budget bistro providing those who are homeless or struggling financially with free or affordable meals from food grown in five community gardens and donated by local businesses and farmers. As the community was rallying around this innovative approach to hunger relief, the Lions in District A-2 knew they wanted to contribute. 

Nine local Lions clubs including Simcoe Lynn Valley, Simcoe, Waterford, Port Dover, Jarvis, South Brant, Vittoria, Hagersville and Townsend helped fund this project. Also, with LCIF Coordinator Bob Townsend, Treasurer Pam Ballah and District Governor Geoff Crane working together, the Lions were awarded a Hunger Grant of US$16,275 from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). Their efforts paired with the LCIF grant helped bring the project to life. This grant purchased furniture for Riversyde 83 including restaurant-grade tables and chairs. They were able to help furnish the Teaching Kitchen, the Budget Bistro, the Trendy Café and provide places for the volunteers who prepare food hampers and frozen meals to sit and relax. 

This donation is more than just furniture; it is a step toward easing food insecurity in Norfolk County. Today, Riversyde 83 is serving up 300 fresh meals, 100 frozen ones and 140 food hampers for those in need. With LCIF’s grant, Lions believe Riversyde 83 will reach over 10,000 people annually. 

The LCIF Hunger Grant Program empowers Lions to back school-based feeding programs, food banks, feeding centers and comparable facilities, ensuring food reaches those in crucial need. Lions’ districts can access grants ranging from US$10,000 to US$100,000. Hunger Grants support infrastructure and equipment acquisition for Lions’ projects focused on alleviating hunger. 

In the midst of a global challenge where nearly one billion people are dealing with hunger and food struggles, the Riversyde 83 Community Food Hub project shows resilience and creativity. It goes beyond just statistics, embodying empathy and proactive transformation. The Hunger Grant from LCIF expanded their reach. Lions, through LCIF Hunger Grants, empower their communities to innovate in the battle against hunger and contribute to sustainable solutions. 

Visit lcif.org/hunger to learn more about LCIF Hunger Grants.