Patrick and Troy are among the regulars who gather around the table for meals at Parksville’s Forward House, a place where adults with mental health challenges drop in for programs, supports, and the house’s $2.50 lunches and $3.00 dinners.
Because of your generous support of the Healthy Eating Meal Program, they enjoy nutritious meals and regularly participate in the free cooking classes.
The classes have ignited a passion for cooking. They now cook twice a week for the clients that come for dinner.
Patrick and Troy often hear people commenting on how good their food is, a big confidence boost for the new chefs, who also now cook for themselves at home.
“We love funding this program because it’s about more than just giving people food,” says Melaina Patenaude, Community Impact Officer of United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “We’re teaching them to fish, as the old adage goes.”
“When people with mental health challenges learn to take care of themselves and make social connections, it improves their quality of life and takes some of the stress off of their families,” she says. “The food is the vessel for personal growth and development.”
Your donations change lives every day.
One of Forward House’s nursing students used to work in the local hospital’s psychiatric unit. It took her a month to recognize that one of the house’s vibrant, well-adjusted clients was the same person she used to care for in the psychiatric ward.
“People thrive when they have the right social supports,” says Dot Neary, president of the board of United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “A communal meal can be the start of a personal transformation.”
Read more success stories on our blog.