For so many of us, the beginning of a new year represents a fresh start; an opportunity to set new personal goals, to check out sweet events in the city, and to try different experiences. For certain Ottawa residents, however, facing this brand new year is daunting as it potentially presents another year of living in food insecurity.

For many youth, this issue is particularly prevalent. With youth representing a third of Ottawa Food Bank users, many high school students have no reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Food insecurity can have a major impact on a student’s ability to participate and perform in school, and the unfortunate stigma associated with accessing services is a consistent barrier.

Enter FoodLocker, an initiative spearheaded by a group of Ottawa high school students which uses technology to link food insecure students with healthy and free food. A unique program combining food bank services with technology, FoodLocker is an app which allows students to access food in an easy and confidential manner. Through the app, students can select and order a food box that best suits their needs. These food boxes, curated based on Health Canada’s food guidelines, contain different meal options along with sanitary products. Once a box is selected by the user, a volunteer will deliver it to an empty locker somewhere in the high school for the student to pick up.

FoodLocker is highly innovative: it operates within one’s school to remain convenient, caters to the individual’s needs, and is completely confidential so all youth feel comfortable using the program. Making food available in schools ensures that all students can gain access to the fuel they need to get through the school day, and without having to take too much time out of their day. JustChange is pleased to support such an exciting initiative!

Please join us to celebrate FoodLocker at JustDrinks on January 13, 2019 at the Bridgehead Roastery in Ottawa from 2-4pm.