Russell was thinking about leaving the neighbourhood when the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre opened up last August. “I’ve lived in the neighbourhood for three years, but I don’t go out that much and I don’t feel safe going out at night,” says the 55-year-old from the Pictou Landing First Nation.
For weeks he watched all the activity around the centre and finally, on his birthday, he decided to check it out. “I walked in for lunch. It was friendly, welcoming and very clean! I had a great meal, I met some people and now we always sit together and have tea.”
He loves the delicious meals and says his health has improved considerably over the past year. A car accident has left him with rods in both his legs. Up until last year he had to walk 90 minutes every day to get one good meal, now it’s just around the corner.
Soon after Russell starting coming to Community Meals he joined the Community Kitchen program, where neighbours cook and share meals together on a weekly basis, and now he’s volunteering at the centre as well.
“It’s so handy for me. This place has given me a reason to wake up in the morning. I take pride in volunteering here.”
The food and the location are perfect for Russell, but the biggest benefit by far has been the people.
“I’ve made friends. Now I meet people on the street and say hello. I finally feel at home.”