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“Food is the ultimate connector. We all know what it’s like to celebrate and connect over a meal and we’re all missing that.”
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Photo by BRANDON HARDER /Regina Leader-Post
The pandemic has made the past year a tough one for the Regina Food Bank and local restaurants alike, but a new cookbook initiative is hoping to help support both at once.
Creators of a new cookbook, titled Heart and Soul: Recipes and Reflections from Staff Supper, are hoping the cookbook will garner donations for the food bank while reminding people to get takeout or delivery from their favourite local restaurants.
This March, the Regina Food Bank had more people in need of food hampers than at any other time during the pandemic, said vice-president David Froh. Around 11,000 people received help and more than 250,000 pounds of food were given out.
Restaurants continue to struggle as their dining rooms remain closed for the second time during the pandemic.
“The cookbook is a rallying cry to our city to celebrate and support our restaurants. Food is the ultimate connector. We all know what it’s like to celebrate and connect over a meal and we’re all missing that,” said Froh.
“Our hope is (the) Heart and Soul cookbook allows people to support local restaurants, but also support the food bank.”
The idea for the cookbook was sparked by the success of an initiative called Staff Supper the Regina Downtown and Regina Warehouse Business Improvement Districts ran earlier in the pandemic in support of restaurant employees. Staff Supper offered employees a special delivery or pick-up meal from a selected restaurant for just five dollars. Participants then gathered virtually to share experiences and connect with one another.
Now people can try making many of those same dishes at home through the recipes provided by a number of local restaurants, including Crave Kitchen + Win Bar, Avenue Restaurant, The Copper Kettle, Malinche, Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ and Rebellion Brewing.
The cookbook is free to download on the Regina Food Bank’s website, but people are encouraged to donate to the food bank when they download it. Every dollar donated provides three meals to people in need, said Froh.
“We feed 11,000 people a month, probably only matched by the restaurant industry and we in this city need to support the food bank and our restaurants because both make Regina a more dynamic and caring place to live,” he said.
Even during the pandemic, Froh said restaurants have continued to donate food and money to the food bank. He hopes as Regina residents try their hand at cooking their own restaurant-worthy meals at home, they will be reminded to get takeout from their favourite local restaurant the following night.
The cookbook can be downloaded and donations made at reginafoodbank.ca.
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