October 19, 2021

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Cultivating Hope tackling food insecurity, homelessness

Helen Castonguay, president and executive director of the Cultivating Hope Foundation, is demonstrated at the Niagara Falls Farmers Sector with microgreens her agency is advertising but also donating to organizations this sort of as the Mature Community Food Literacy Centre. The ne

  • Helen Castonguay, president and executive director of the Cultivating Hope Foundation, is shown at the Niagara Falls Farmers Market with microgreens her agency is selling but also donating to agencies such as the GROW Community Food Literacy Centre. The ne

The name of Helen Castonguay’s new undertaking — the Cultivating Hope Basis — succinctly sums up what she’s hoping to execute.

The president and govt director of the new company, which has applied for federal charitable position, has a target of cultivating both of those figuratively and pretty much in Niagara.

In offices in a federal immigration creating on Portage Street in Niagara Falls, Castonguay is increasing nutrient-packed microgreens and herbs destined for local charities and very low-earnings family members though she finalizes an settlement to get started expanding balanced produce in a spacious former rooster barn regionally.

But Castonguay is also organizing to cultivate hope amid susceptible persons in Niagara, these as these dealing with homelessness, to assist them support themselves to a far better everyday living as a result of job instruction that could involve landing work opportunities on Niagara farms, and capabilities this sort of as resumé composing and interviewing.

Castonguay, who used to operate a farm and region shop, resolved to use her agricultural know-how to support supply fresh deliver to neighborhood food stuff banks, where deliver is also a prime talk to between purchasers.

“We’re concentrating on food stuff insecurity,” said Castonguay, who has recognised what it’s like to wrestle in existence.

“I have been in a place where by I couldn’t manage to obtain new vegetables,” she explained. “I experienced to get a minimum amount total of low-priced foods, and generally that is packs of mac and cheese or just pasta.”

She stated absence of entry to nutritious food stuff can have a spiralling impact on someone’s existence.

“It sort of snowballs,” she said. “It can impact your self-esteem, your emotional standing, you can get depression and you get health problems.”

As her company grows and hires employees, Castonguay strategies to start off coaching the vulnerable and has currently committed Cultivating Hope to becoming a certified dwelling wage employer with the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network.

“As an organization striving to enable cut down meals insecurity in the Niagara area, we felt it was vital to be a part of the alternative in any way achievable,” she explained. “Our personnel will have to be the first to reward from what we are hoping to do as an business.”

Castonguay claimed she hopes to assault problems these as homelessness at the root of the difficulty, acquiring people today on the fringe of modern society into the workforce so they can guidance on their own and their families on an ongoing basis, and connecting them with other organizations supplying essential products and services these as bodily and mental health care.

“We want to be a hub wherever someone can occur in, we can assess them, find what their needs and issues are, and obtain what this individual demands to be a healthful, successful citizen and to have a lifetime they’re happy of and how they can aid their family,” she explained.

Castonguay hopes to do the job with regional publish-secondary institutions to locate out which sectors and jobs are most in need to have of folks to fill vacant positions, so she can tailor schooling.

“That’s the inhabitants we’re striving to support: all those who really do not have the skill or the means to appear at these distinctive selections they don’t even know exist,” she reported.

Castonguay hopes her agency will turn out to be self-sufficient financially by marketing make.

But Pam Farrell, executive director of the Increase Group Food Literacy Centre in downtown Niagara Falls, explained Cultivating Hope is currently donating microgreens and herbs to clientele at her charitable agency, aiding low-revenue families in Niagara’s most deprived spot.

“To be capable to have something like microgreens, which you could only get at specialty shops and wouldn’t be reasonably priced (for clients) is priceless,” mentioned Farrell.

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“Her items assistance carry healthful food in just get to … and most importantly are available during the yr,” stated Farrell. “To be capable to get those people new every 7 days, we’re just so blessed that she’s supporting us.”

For much more details take a look at https://cultivatinghope.ca/.

Tale Driving THE Tale: After studying of the new Cultivating Hope Foundation, This 7 days attained out to understand what influence it is possessing on vulnerable people today.