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Feeding the local community

This spring, the Gay Lea Foundation announced a $12,000 grant to the Brant Avenue Neighbourhood Group to keep its pantry and fridge stocked with fresh and non-perishable food for 12 months.

The Brant Avenue Neighbourhood Group is an organization of community members committed to providing support and services for all members of the Brant Ave neighbourhood in Guelph, Ontario. It is part of a network of neighbourhood groups, sponsoring agencies and program partners that advocate for community issues called the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition.

“The Brant Avenue neighbourhood is an incredibly vibrant community, full of kind and caring people looking after one another,” says Brendan Johnson, Executive Director of the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition. “But it is an area where there is a lot of inequity and lack of social services and local businesses.”

In this neighbourhood, 14 per cent of residents are considered low income, 15 per cent do not have a college diploma or university degree and 25 per cent of the neighbourhood’s residents are single-parent households, says Johnson, citing data from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. The pantry is regularly accessed by 152 families and more than 200 children per month, he adds.

“This gift from the Gay Lea Foundation will make a huge difference in the amazing work that happens in the neighbourhood,” says Johnson.

For 25 years, the Brant Avenue Neighbourhood Group has offered every member of the community free programming such as the food pantry, parenting courses, fitness classes, special events and summer camps. Volunteer community members work closely with local schools and key faith groups to help build support for families and individuals.

“Every day, Brant Avenue Neighbourhood Group are the deliverers of small miracles. I never have to worry that my daughter is hungry at school. Because of them, my life, and the life of my child is better. We can plan for the future, instead of just surviving,” says Lesley, a Brant Avenue neighbourhood resident.

About the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition The Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition is a network of neighbourhood groups, sponsoring agencies and program partners. Each neighbourhood group operates in an autonomous way at the grass roots level to meet the needs of children, youth and families that have been identified within the neighbourhood. Through the Coalition, the neighbourhood groups bring together their collective resources to share information, provide support, distribute available funding resources and advocate for community issues.

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