Pay What You Want Market and Cafe Brings Fresh Food and Community to Calgarians – Calgary

A new pay-what-you-can-afford market is putting the high cost of fresh produce within reach of Calgarians.

Kin Market and Kin Café officially launched in Calgary on Tuesday with its simple and straightforward approach to putting things like fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, eggs and other pantry items into the hands of Calgarians who would have otherwise shelved the idea of ​​buying because of the cost.

“We’re here to fill a gap where, you know, people can’t afford groceries for whatever reason, maybe they lost their job, maybe they’re a single mom, you know, inflation on groceries has gone up,” explained Paul Annunziello of the Leftovers Foundation, a food rescue charity that came up with the idea for the market.

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According to Annunziello, Canadians’ food insecurity has increased and reliance on food organizations like Leftovers has increased by more than 70% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We actually had this…idea, and originally it started before COVID hit,” Annunziello explained. “And now that COVID is here – you know, some of these people are losing their jobs or, you know, they are reduced to part-time hours, their budgets are tight – we really see the needs increasing.

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The pay-what-you-want model was created through the community in the spirit of community building.

“This model is really for everyone,” Annunziello said. “It’s going to take both types of people. It’s going to take people who need, you know, only being able to afford $10 for groceries or $1 for their coffee, but it’s going to take the next person stepping in and saying, “I’m going to pay a little bit more for cover my neighbour’s shopping.’ »

The market operates with funding from the YYC Food Security Fund and several other donors, including Fresh Routes and the YMCA, which provided space for the market at each of its Saddletowne and Shawnessy locations.

The volunteer-run Kin Café is supplied with coffee and donuts from two local stores and is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Monday through Friday — at the Shawnessy YMCA.

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“People just want a connection,” said cafe volunteer Maya Zucchelli.

“I think I’ve been surprised by the conversations I’ve had with people and the amount of people who want to talk about everything that’s going on in their lives.”

Kim Goodwin lives near the Shawnessy YMCA and stopped for coffee after visiting the library. She said she felt good paying full price for the hot drink.

“It’s a neat community initiative to be able to give back in a different way,” Goodwin said.

Annunziello said donations and volunteers are always welcome to help ensure Calgarians in need can continue to have access to fresh, healthy market foods.

“We want people to be able to shop with dignity,” Annunziello said. “We want people to feel comfortable (so that) there’s no guilt (and) there’s no shame in getting what they can.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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