Community Food Volunteering

ARTA member Cathryn Gilham helps to keep food on the table at the Pioneer Museum Tea House in Stony Plain, Alberta. This lunch spot, open on Fridays and Saturdays May through September, serves soup, sandwiches, and pies — all made from scratch by volunteers.

“On Wednesday, volunteers shop for the menu,” Gilham said. “On Thursday we prep, and on Friday and Saturday we make soup and bake pies. Sandwiches are made to order. It gives me a sense of community, and I love the social aspect of it.”

Cathryn Gilham helps to keep food on the table at the Pioneer Museum Tea House in Stony Plain, Alberta

woman harvesting pears from a tree

Debbie Piquette Roney, an ARTA member on Vancouver Island, picks fruit with her husband, Larry. Through the Life Cycles Fruit Tree Project, homeowners register their trees, assessors predict the amount of fruit, and volunteers harvest the crop.

Half of each pick is donated. High-quality, ready-to-eat produce goes to a community agency, such as the Mustard Seed or the food bank. Fruit for processing goes to local artisans, such as a cidery, and sales from these products help to fund the harvest. Of the other half, half goes to the tree owner and half to the pickers. The Roneys volunteer twice a week and turn their portion into jams, chutneys, salads, and pies.

“We’ve picked, in one pick, almost 400 pounds of yellow plums! It feels great to be outside,  smell, pick, and eat fresh fruit,” Piquette Roney said.

There are many other ways you too can volunteer within your community.

Look up your local Food Bank: As more and more Canadians struggle with inflation and a difficult economy, Food Banks across Canada are seeing record numbers of people and families reaching out needing help. Food Banks often need volunteers for sorting donations or have listed items they are in desperate need of.

Breakfast and lunch programs for students: Organizations like Breakfast Club of Canada help ensure kids can make it through the day of school with a healthy breakfast to start their day.
You can learn more about their initiative and how to help via their website:

To read the full article in the Winter 2023 edition of news & views magazine go to: