Thunder Bay Good Food Box (GFB)
A VOLUNTEER-POWERED FOOD INSECURITY INITIATIVE
Administered by the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre since 2005, the Thunder Bay Good Food Box (GFB) is a monthly fruit and vegetable distribution program that aims to increase access to fresh and affordable produce for people in Thunder Bay and District. We deliver / distribute our boxes through multiple host sites in neighbourhoods and residential buildings, as well as through local organizations and participating First Nations year-round. Our program is intended for, and primarily serves, families and individuals with low or fixed incomes including young families, sole support parents, students, seniors, and people with disabilities. One box is $22 and typically features 10-12 items, as well as a monthly newsletter with easy, healthy recipes. No applications or proof of income required; just pay for your box by the order deadline and pick it up on Good Food Box day!
Buying a Good Food Box is a low-cost way to get fresh produce AND get involved in our community. The GFB is a non-profit, community-based, VOLUNTEER-POWERED food insecurity initiative. Our dedicated volunteers are truly the heart of the program. Our volunteers are diverse in age, abilities, skills and backgrounds. Some are high school students passing through to complete their volunteer hours, some join us once as a group from a local agency or business, and some volunteers have been with us for well over a decade. Our volunteers are collaborators involved in all aspects of the program: sitting on the advisory board, operating a host-site, washing bins, sorting and packing produce, delivering orders to host-sites, or contributing to the newsletter. In 2022, we welcomed 94 unique volunteers who together contributed 2,011 hours!
Our volunteers have told us that they:
- Made new friends while volunteering
- Feel more connected to the community
- Learned new skills
- Look forward to pack day every month
- Feel appreciated for their volunteer efforts
Our volunteers are AMAZING! The energy, enthusiasm and commitment each one brings to the GFB program is invaluable. See some of them in action on a recent pack day at the Moose Hall:
Some 2022 program stats + highlights:
- We packed and distributed 5,423 Good Food Boxes for an estimated 1,119 unique customers
- The Good Food Filled the bellies of 6,247 Children (0-17yrs); 4,993 Adults; and 3,229 seniors (55+)
- Thanks to a grant from the Thunder Bay Community Foundation, we distributed $4584 Worth of subsidies to seniors, students, those facing homelessness and women in crisis
- We partnered with Our Kids Count to provide 600 Lunch Kits to families with school age children
- We packed over 97,000 lbs of produce in our good food boxes (not including our lunch kits or local box fundraisers!)
In 2023, with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we hired a local agency to create a new website with e-commerce options. Explore it here: https://www.goodfoodboxtb.org/.