The Basic Shelf Program is a 6-week series of workshops combining nutrition, cooking, shopping, and basic financial literacy. These classes are taught weekly, to small groups, by a licenced facilitator, both at the Food Bank and in other community locations.
This program is in response to the fact that intermittent food insecurity, resulting from poverty, mental/physical health issues, addictions, and lack of knowledge or skills can present real challenges for our clients.
The Basic Shelf program is premised on the idea of a “Basic Shelf” of grocery items, which are nutritious and affordable. The program cookbook is comprised of recipes using these ingredients, and at each class participants are taught how to prepare several of the recipes. Lesson topics include food safety, basic nutrition, shopping skills, food preparation and eating well on a budget.
The Financial Literacy program is designed to increase participants’ basic financial management skills, with a focus on increasing confidence and self-esteem. Workshop topics include: Assets, Budgeting, Banking, Credit & Consumerism. Clients are encouraged to identify their assets (personal, social, human, physical & financial); learn how to manage their finances (Instead of asking where your money has gone, learn to tell it where to go!); and are taught how to recognize the effects advertising and become wise, informed consumers.
This program is based on an asset-building approach to poverty reduction. Everyone has assets on which to build and that strengthening a number of asset areas can enable people to not just get by, but to actually get ahead. As individuals living on low-incomes increase their assets, they increase their ability to actively engage in the economy. The accumulation of assets becomes a powerful tool to avoid and/or escape poverty, build personal resilience and increase economic self-sufficiency.
Upon graduation from the program participants receive a Basic Shelf Food Hamper, and a kitchen equipment kit containing all of the basic cooking items—such as pots, pans, bakeware, mixing bowls, cooking utensils, measuring tools, knives, cutting boards, etc.—so they are fully equipped to utilize the skills they have learned in the program.