Funding has been announced for the Centre for Seniors Information to update their kitchen to a fully functioning, large-scale community kitchen to create a hub for social inclusiveness and teach people about cooking, baking, canning and freezing food! The funding was provided by the BC Ministry of Health.

(Photo: Laura Kalina, MLA Todd Stone, a volunteer, MLA Terry Lake, Brenda Prevost, and another volunteer at the Centre for Seniors Information)

The Province is providing $150,000 to support a neighbourhood kitchen that will provide nutritious meals and be a forum for seniors to showcase their wealth of knowledge in preparing food, Health Minister Terry Lake announced today.

“The kitchen will be a welcoming environment for those in Kamloops wanting to get an inexpensive, healthy meal or to take home important knowledge on food preparation,” said Lake. “The kitchen will also give seniors a way to remain connected to the community and pass along their own knowledge in the kitchen to others.”

The funding will go toward the Centre for Seniors Information BC Interior Society to expand its current concession space, which offers lunch-style meals to seniors, into a larger kitchen that will function as a hub for all Kamloops residents.

Programs will include a daily lunch program, food canning and preserving, budgeting and healthy meal options, as well as job skills development opportunities. It will allow seniors and other community members to get together on a regular basis to build important cooking skills and prepare food that is delicious and nutritious.

The hands-on training will also play a role in gaining experience for jobs in the food-service sector. “Today’s announcement is great news as this kitchen will provide healthy meals for those in the community as well as support our local seniors so they can remain active and engaged,” said Todd Stone, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA.

Seniors will have the opportunity to teach their cooking skills to others as well as learn new ones. The kitchen will be used by a diverse group, but the majority of programs and services have seniors in mind and is expected to be operational later this year. “The development of the CSI neighbourhood kitchen has been a focal point for the last few years. It is a significant step forward in meeting the needs of our growing senior population and the delivery of community based programs. The activity centre combined with the neighbourhood kitchen will play a key role in our community,” said Centre for Seniors Information executive director Brenda Prevost.

The Centre for Seniors Information runs a variety of programs such as fraud and elder abuse awareness, information and referrals on community organizations and services, health, wellness and housing. The centre is also a venue for gatherings for bingo, cards, breakfasts, potlucks and dances. The neighbourhood kitchen will be developed in partnership with the Kamloops Food Policy Council. The council works with local advocacy groups and organizations on a variety of  projects to help strengthen the community food system.