Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:08AM EDT
An Ottawa food bank is saying no thank you to Kraft Dinner, hot dogs and dozens of other items deemed unhealthy.
Parkdale Food Centre co-ordinator Karen Secord says everybody deserves good-quality food – even those who can't afford it.
"I don't want canned stew, Alpha-Getti, Kraft Dinner, pop, chips, candy," Secord told CTV Ottawa.
Going through a box of donated food items, Secord is quick to take some pieces out of the mix. Among the items that failed to make the cut are: a box of Dunkaroos, a package of Maynards Swedish Berries, an opened bottle of salad dressing that expired in 2008 and an opened container of Hot Rod meat snacks.
"It is sending the message out to people that you are not worth it, that your health isn't worth as much as my health is worth," Secord said.
She said foods that are deemed unhealthy separated from the other donation items. If the food originated from the Ottawa Food Bank, which supports several emergency food programs in the city, it is sent back.
The Ottawa Food Bank said it was unaware of any food items being sent back.
Secord is part of a working group that looks at all food being purchased and swaps some items such as margarine in favour of fresh produce.
Parkdale Food Centre clients, meanwhile, say they're happy about the centre’s healthy food criteria.
"Who wants to live on Kraft Dinner? Sure enough not us," client Annabelle Biefer said.
Another client Joeann Tourangeau said food bank clients would like to eat properly – just like those who can afford to purchase their own groceries.
"We would like to feel better about ourselves and by eating properly, of course you feel better."
Secord said she'd like to see more egg, milk, yogurt and cheese donations coming into the centre.
A 'Good Food List (external - login to view)' on the Parkdale Food Centre website lists nuts, fresh meats, rice and canned beans among dozens of other items.
"Everything starts with good food," Secord said.
According to Food Banks Canada, close to 850,000 Canadians used food banks on a monthly basis in 2013, and more than one-third of those helped were children and youth. The organization said the number is down from 2012, but significantly higher than the estimated 676,000 Canadians that used food banks each month in 2008.
The HungerCount 2013 report (external - login to view) shows that 38 per cent of food banks have been forced to cut back the amount of food they provide to each household because they do not have enough.
Read more: Neighbourhood food bank says no thank you to Kraft Dinner | CTV News (external - login to view)
A little presumptuous isn't it? Decreeing that KD can no longer be served to food bank recipients? I've never used a food bank in my life but I still have KD on occassion....as a quick lunch or last minute side dish. And I get that candies are not a nutritional food product (I won't comment on the open salad dressing, that was just gross) but I've often included cookies or chocolates at Easter time when filling up a bag for the food bank at the grocery store. I'd hate like hell to think they were being tossed.