Épicentre Saint-Henri’s mission is to serve as a food hub to compensate for the food desert that characterizes certain parts of Saint-Henri.
The organization’s objectives are:
Incorporated February 26, 2021, the Épicentre Saint-Henri was created by the Food Autonomy and Grocery committees of the Community Development Corporation Solidarité Saint-Henri (SSH, Saint-Henri’s community roundtable).
The Épicentre’s current programming took shape during the last ten years. SSH organized occasional mini-markets in order to compensate for the food desert in the west of Saint-Henri. From 2017 to 2019, some twenty community activists worked with the Grocery committee to create the first draft of a business plan for a local solidarity grocery store. In the Fall of 2019, members of the Food Autonomy committee, including community organizations, the Southwest Borough and the CIUSSS Centre-Sud of Montreal Island, took on the work of finding funding for the project and started creating an administrative and legal structure for the non-profit organization that would manage the grocery.
In order to respond to basic food needs at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, the members of SSH decided to fast-forward the creation of the food aid component of the new organization. Several partners fournished the space and the workers (among others, Benedict Labre House, the Centre d’éducation aux adultes de la Petite-Bourgogne et de Saint-Henri (CÉDA), the Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Sud-Ouet (CJESO) and the Southwest Borough), and in just two weeks an improved and enlarged food bank was operational.
Since then, the Épicentre has focused on consolidating and developing its food bank, which distributes approximately 100 food baskets to some 100 individuals and families each week. The organization continues to develop its solidarity markets (formerly, the mini-markets). In 2021 and 2022, these markets were held weekly, offering fruits and vegetables, including many locally produced items grown organically by partner organizations, at very affordable prices.
The Épicentre team is made up of people with significant experience in management, operations, workplace training and administration who want to make a difference.
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