--- Federal government funds food security programs in Gatineau
Gatineau-based charity Itinérance Zéro received $6,965 in federal funding from the Local Food Infrastructure Fund on February 12. “Our equipment was broken and we applied for funding to fix it,” said Benoit Leblanc, founder of Itinérance Zéro, referring to a refrigerated truck and food mixer.
Back in 2013, Leblanc began operating the motor home that distributes free meals, in order to help the homeless population in the region. The charity currently operates a commercial kitchen in Hull, where a volunteer cooks the meals. “On a weekly basis now, it’s between 550 and 600 meals a week,” said Leblanc. He says his charity serves around 150 people, with an increased number of seniors picking up meals since the pandemic began last year.
“The heartbreaking part is that people over 70 have begun coming to the caravan,” he said. Leblanc blames increased living expenses, including rent, for the growing need for free meals among seniors. “Progressive, forward-thinking governments demonstrate with investments their commitment to improving food security for those who need it most,” said Liberal MP William Amos (Pontiac Riding) during the funding announcement. “So, I am proud that the Government of Canada is supporting our region with these funds.”