Food not Bombs serves free community meals twice monthly in the Picton Town Hall, as well as offering other free family events such as The Really, Really Free Market. The FNB collective has built a culture of sharing and support for not only those in need of food, but a place of connection between those in need and those capable of offering support and solidarity for the past 5 years.
It has helped empower people to help themselves, not only through the sharing of healthy meals, but also by providing a literature table at each meal with information about our community, and programs available that help. It also provides a social time for many who feel isolated.
“The hall itself is an important part of Food Not Bombs,” says Christine Renaud, one of the FNB organizers. “Many people simply do not want to go to churches or places where they feel stigmatized by their struggles. We have, over time in the community hall, created a place where people can come together in a place of equality to build relationships and empowerment for self-sufficiency.”
The Food Not Bombs community is at home in this space. The hall is within a manageable walking distance for most of the people who come to the meals, many of whom do not have transportation. It is accessible for those with mobility issues. The beauty and warmth of the space makes it welcoming and this adds to the success of the Food Not Bombs meals.
“If we don’t have our Picton Town Hall, I doubt that we will be able to continue serving our free community meals,” says Renaud. “So it’s about more than losing a place. It’s about shattering a support system that addresses food insecurity, which has been identified time and again as one of our community’s greatest problems. Moreover, selling off the Town Hall would endorse the message that many who come to the meals already feel – that is, that money matters more than they do. It doesn’t. We have to place each other as a community first.”
From Christine Renaud