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How it all started.

December 22, 2020

Fresh Food Weekly launched its Inaugural 2020 Christmas Food Drive. This food drive consisted of raising funds for a ‘Mega Christmas Shop’ from Costco, for single moms who’d been in the Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie at some point in time. 

January 2021

Fresh Food Weekly received a charitable trust account number from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

Charitable Trust Account Number Assigned

June 6, 2021

Fresh Food Weekly conducted weekly deliveries of donated produce and bread items for 16 weeks between June and September 2021. We started by using the Barrie Community Fridge to store our donated produce, and then we bagged everything in the parking lot. Thankfully, it never rained on us. 

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We picked-up food donations seven days a week.

Every week between June and September 2021, we increased the number of on-going food donors by one to two donors each week. By August 2021, we were picking up fresh food donations seven days a week. 

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In July 2021, the Barrie Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corporation (BMNPHC) invited Fresh Food Weekly to start using their empty common room located at 380 Duckworth Street. They also allowed us to use one of their trolleys to assist with bringing food donations inside.

We received fresh food donations.

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We packaged fresh food donations.

We also packaged fresh food donations as well. 

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In order to store fresh food for one or two days before the next delivery day, we had to get fridges donated. We ended up getting three regular-sized fridges and a chest freezer donated by August that summer.

We stored fresh food donations.

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We packed fresh food donations.

By August 2021, Fresh Food Weekly volunteers came together three times a week to pack fresh food deliveries.


When the Fresh Food Weekly program started doing deliveries, we paid $0.05 per bag at Rexall.

We delivered fresh food donations.

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We shut down.

October 1st 2021

The Fresh Food Weekly program was forced to close down due to not having an operating space to work out of. The BMNPHC said they needed their common room back, and since we couldn't find a new location, we had no choice but to close down. 

Fresh Food Weekly closes down due to no support from county
CBC Interview
00:00 / 06:56

October 8-11, 2021

Although we no longer had a physical space to operate out of anymore, we knew that thousands of people were still starving and Thanksgiving was on a Monday that year. So we continued to give to the Barrie Community Fridge all weekend long because everything would get picked up within an hour of dropping it off. 

We picked up donations for Thanksgiving 2021.

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However, while Leah was dropping off some more fresh food donations at the Barrie Community Fridge, she pulled in and saw someone loading up a fifth huge bag of food (the first four were sitting in their wide-open trunk). This person had already taken about 20 people's worth of food after Leah had spent days driving all over Barrie's foodshed so many low-income families could benefit from it. But because no one monitor's how much food people take, it allows others to take advantage of it. After this, Leah decided never to donate to a community fridge again.

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We did a beauty product drive.

Since beauty products don't need to be refrigerated, we hosted our inaugural Christmas Beauty Product Drive. We promoted the drive on Facebook, and members of the community could donate their unused beauty products, for Fresh Food Weekly to create Beauty Product Gift Baskets for women who've resided at the Women & Children's Shelter at some point in time. 

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Many of the women who received these Christmas beauty product gift baskets said it was the only Christmas present they were getting that year. Some of them also said they had to make this shampoo and conditioner last all year. 

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Fresh Food Weekly delivers free fresh food to low-income families in Barrie without minimal support

December 2021

Since Fresh Food Weekly had been doing weekly deliveries of produce and bread items during the summer of 2021, Lisa Peterson of Stone Horse Farm and Manager of the Thornton Farmers' Market, reached out and said she was doing a Christmas fundraiser to raise money for 50 Christmas meal boxes and asked if Fresh Food Weekly would be able to deliver them to low-income families in Barrie. This is how the meal box program was birthed.  

March 2022

The CRA had asked Fresh Food Weekly to submit a progress report of the charitable activities it was conducting, to further access our application for charitable status. This is the report that was submitted. Personal details and information of suppliers and partners have been covered. 

Fresh Food Weekly delivers free fresh food to low-income families in Barrie without minimal support
Fresh Food Weekly delivers free Easter Dinner meal boxes

April 2022

When Easter approached, Fresh Food Weekly reached out to Lisa and asked if she would do another meal box fundraiser, but this time for Easter. Fresh Food Weekly also fundraised for an additional 62 Easter baskets for kids as well. 

June 2022

Since the first two pilot delivery runs were such a success, Fresh Food Weekly launched the Monthly Meal Box Program in June 2022. Thorganic Farms Butcher Shop in Thornton, Ont., allowed us to use their space, for free, once a month. 

Fresh Food Weekly launches monthly meal box program
Fresh Food Weekly received charitable status from the CRA

July 2022

Fresh Food Weekly was granted charitable status from the CRA. 

Fresh Food Weekly received charitable status from the CRA

January 2023

In January 2023, Fresh Food Weekly expanded the program to serve low-income families residing in Innisfil, Ontario, and also increased deliveries to biweekly occurrences. 

Fresh Food Weekly seeking Innisfil recipients
Fresh Food Weekly expands to Innisfil and starts biweekly deliveries
August 2023

August 2023

Donations had nearly stopped coming in and we had to temporarily halt biweekly meal box deliveries (since we didn’t have enough funds). This is when we launched the ‘Healthy Cooking Workshops for Kids’, which were taught by Leah Dyck’s mom, Mary Dyck, as she’s a Paediatric Nurse at The Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital’s ‘Choosing Healthy Actions Together (CHAT) Clinic

November 2023 to January 2024

When the Fresh Food Weekly program was first designed back in 2021, one of the things we didn’t anticipate was the large number of recipients who didn’t know how to cook, or who haven’t tried awesome, classic North American dishes such as Chicken Parmesan. This is when we decided to alter the program design, and start offering ‘Meal Box Meal Kits’. Our biweekly meal boxes continued to provide staple items such as milk, eggs, butter, cheese, meat, produce, and toilet paper, but also included recipe cards, all the ingredients needed to make the recipe (exact portions), as well as step-by-step, “heavily- pictured” printed cooking directions. 

November 2023 to January 2024
Fresh Food Weekly closes down due to no support from county

January 16, 2024

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we couldn’t get the support we needed and had to end all fresh food deliveries and close down the program. 

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