The Spirit of Canada, non-profit meals truck serving free meals to lots of in Edmonton

(CBC News)

As part of our Make the Season Kind campaign, CBC Edmonton is highlighting the work our community has done in 2020 to help others.

As winter sets in and the weather gets colder, a local charity is working to improve food security in Edmonton by providing meals to up to 700 people a week.

Canadian Volunteers United in Action (CANAVUA), an Edmonton-based non-profit organization, expanded its efforts to provide meals to Edmontonians with the use of food trucks in October.

Twice a week, volunteers feed the walk-ups with meals and deliver deliveries across the city. Already now, volunteers are reaching 300 to 350 people a day – mostly from the Afro-Canadian, Indigenous and newcomers to Edmonton.

“Doing this with passion is the spirit of Canada,” said Dicky Dikamba, executive director of CANAVUA, to CBC’s Edmonton AM on Tuesday.

“In Canada, people like to give time to other people or their community.

“We have this program that helps these people give others some time.”

A food truck operated by the nonprofit Canadian Volunteers United in Action in Edmonton serves meals to more than 600 people each week. 2:10

Dikamba said the food truck is open every Wednesday and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. The food comes from donations. The menu changes weekly.

CANAVUA was founded in 2009 to promote volunteering in Alberta, particularly within the Francophone community.

For nearly a decade, it has had a French-speaking branch of Edmonton’s Food Bank in La Cité Francophone.

The food truck allows them to offer meals to those registered with their grocery bank on a weekly basis instead of relying solely on monthly grocery baskets.

The food on the food truck comes from donations with a weekly changing menu. (Supplied by Dicky Dikamba)

15 to 20 volunteers work with the food truck. Some volunteers have received help from similar grants in the past, Dikamba said.

Volunteer Richard Breton said he used to use drugs and lived on the streets.

“I’m very good now so it’s just a way to give something back,” said Breton. “I’ve given money back, but physically it’s the first time I’ve done it [volunteer]to give back and be part of helping people. “

Looking ahead to 2021, Dikamba said he hoped to find more volunteers and more donations from individuals and companies so that the truck could keep the truck running for more days next summer.

With files from Min Dhariwal

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