Plans are afoot to host another walkathon in support of the Centretown Emergency Food Centre. This year’s event, the third such charity fundraiser, takes place October 21, 2018.
The walk originated as friends and supporters of the Food Centre looked for innovative ways to highlight the need for greater food security in central Ottawa and raise much-needed funds for a longtime neighbourhood resource. The Emergency Food Centre, located at 507 Bank Street in the basement of Centretown United Church (Bank at Argyle), serves many people living in central Ottawa, including residents of rooming houses, refugees and students. Its catchment area runs from Wellington Street to Billings Bridge, and from Lyon Street in the west to Main Street, including Lees Avenue, in the east.
The Food Centre receives support from a variety of sources, but demand remains high, and with food prices rising, it is an ongoing challenge to serve everyone who comes through the door. Members of 23 central Ottawa churches (including several in Old Ottawa South) supply food and financial donations regularly. It also receives support from the City, and food donations from the Food Bank. In 2016, the Food Centre spent $100,000 over and above these contributions, making fundraising essential. Food drives in local grocery stores, schools and funding from generous individuals provide additional valuable support. Each year’s Walk for the Centre so far has been larger and more popular than the preceding one, and organizers from the Centretown Churches Social Action Committee are hoping 2018 will be even bigger and better. Walkathon organizer, Elizabeth Kent feels that the walk is also about raising awareness of the needs in our central Ottawa community, and the important role the Food Centre plays in supporting those in need. “Our motto every year has been ‘neighbours helping neighbours’ and this is very much the message we want to convey – we welcome walkers of all ages.”
Old Ottawa South residents can help the Food Centre by joining this year’s short 3.5 kilometre walk on Sunday, October 21 at 2:00 pm. Registration will begin at 1:30 pm, with local musicians contributing music before the walk begins. The route will take people along the Ottawa River behind Parliament Hill, a great location for a Sunday afternoon stroll. A shorter route will also be available. Both walks will begin and conclude at City Hall. Councillor David Chernushenko has been a strong supporter of the Food Centre over the years.
Further information, an online registration form, and a donation form, can be found at the CCSAC website: www.centretownchurches.org.
Originally published in the October 2018 OSCAR.