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Flowers & Food: A beautification project at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre

How did the 2020 Pandemic affect your life? At the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre Food Bank, many things changed, including how they served their community members. To respect health and safety guidelines, clients were invited to visit the Food Bank by appointment and maintain social distancing outside.

Looking to create a better space for Food Bank community members and making our building more inviting for everyone, the RRCRC Opportunity and Inclusion Team and Social Harvest Ottawa partnered in a beautification project to give the space a green makeover.

RRCRC staff setting up for the event

RRCRC staff and volunteers gathered for an afternoon at the Rideau Community Hub on August 27th, 2020, from 1 to 4 PM. The project was to upcycle old Good Food Box’s bins to be used as planters for beautiful and colourful chrysanthemum and aster plants and some kale. We used some leftover topsoil from the Seeds and Soil Event to fill the bins and get planting. A total of 20 bins were recycled; 16 of those were placed along the Food Bank's wall facing the parking lot and the other four at the main entrance of the Hub.

Staff and volunteers at work

Here are some pictures comparing the before and after of the outside waiting area of the Food Bank:

Before and after shots of the Food Bank area and main entrance of the Rideau Hub

We are happy to have helped bring some colour and life to the space. We hope to have helped brighten everyone's day at the center as well as yours! Check out how pretty and vibrant the planters look a month later.

Food bank area with planters in full bloom

What a success! The beautification of the area created a brighter and welcoming space for clients and staff alike. The RRCRC team has received positive feedback from Food Bank clients who have appreciated the initiative.

Here is what community members and staff are saying:

“These are so beautiful! It is so nice to have some flowers to look at while I’m waiting to be served [at the foodbank].”

Patricia Lau, Poverty Reduction Officer in charge of the Food Bank, also commented on how very lovely it is to hear those community members' comments.

"The reaction has been super positive, especially now that the plants are in bloom!" Shannon Szkurhan, Poverty and Inclusion team lead.

The RRCRC Food Bank serves approximately 800 people a month and provides them with emergency food services. In April 2020, a new program was launched called Local Food for our Local Food Bank, which aims to support local businesses and our local food bank. Thanks to generous donations, they have raised over $18,000 so far to help support local businesses and our local food bank. Businesses that are partners at the moment are Epicuria, Bread&Roses, Manor Parc Grocery, Carson Fresh Grocer, Guardian Hillside Pharmacy, Demouchel, and Moussa Meat Market. All the purchased items like frozen soup, meat, bread and baby products were given to our Food Bank clients. Thanks to this program, the Rideau-Rockcliffe CRC has been able to support great local businesses while at the same time also providing more food to the community members who attend our Food Bank.

To learn more about how you can donate or be a participating business with this initiative, visit the new incubator13 website.

For more news and updates on Social Harvest Ottawa's community engagement activities, subscribe to our newsletter. You can also send us an e-mail at

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