Serving Up Complete Meals at Dar Foundation’s Food Program

When Gihan Sabry, Food Program Manager at Dar Foundation—an Oakville-based not-for-profit that serves the Muslim community—tells people that she runs a food program, they don’t believe her.

“They don’t believe people are hungry in Oakville,” she says.

With the highest rate of poverty in the Halton region, affecting seniors and the working poor, among others, we know that neighbours in Oakville are experiencing food insecurity. That’s why we work with Dar Foundation, and other community-focused organizations in Oakville, to ensure that everybody has access to GOOD nutritious food.

Beginning with 20 families, Dar Foundation’s food program has been serving every week since 2013. Today, nearly 100 families (400+ individuals) access the food bank for dry food and Halal meat, which is purchased with donations made to Dar Foundation, and fresh produce, provided by Food for Life.

“When newcomers find a job and they’re stable, they give their spot to someone else,”

Gihan Sabry

“We complete each other,” says Sabry of the partnership with Food for Life, adding that the two components of the food program work together to provide families with a balanced meal. Before the program began, Food for Life also helped members of the Dar Foundation team become certified food leaders and invited them to see how other Food for Life programs ran.

Among the people, Sabry sees accessing Dar Foundation’s food program are single moms, seniors, and newcomers. “It’s very important to people,” she says, adding that one of the most fulfilling parts of the program is seeing neighbours transition to no longer needing it.

“When newcomers find a job and they’re stable, they give their spot to someone else,” she says happily.

Like so many not-for-profit organizations that we work with, COVID-19 has forced Dar Foundation to rethink how the food program is delivered.

“We stopped for one to two weeks,” says Sabry, adding that she enlisted the help of her own family to make sure the program wouldn’t end entirely. She knew it needed to continue. The program quickly adapted, adopting a scaled-back approach, decreasing its frequency, and adding additional safety precautions, including no-contact curbside delivery.

“We have to do it because people need food!” says Sabry.

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