Dartmouth Food and Family Centres to merge under one roof, better assist families in need

Click to play video: 'Dartmouth community to benefit from Food and Family Centre merger' Dartmouth community to benefit from Food and Family Centre merger
WATCH: Premier Stephen McNeil announced Tuesday that the province will provide $100,000 to help build and merge the Dartmouth Family Centre and North Food Centre. Jesse Thomas reports. – Sep 24, 2019

It’s being hailed as the “one roof” campaign and it will help the community and families of northern Dartmouth that it serves.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil along with minister of community services were at the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre Tuesday morning, where they announced a funding commitment of $100,000 to relocate and build a new Dartmouth Family Centre next to the Food Centre.

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“We as a government on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia will contribute $100,000 towards this campaign, to ensure that this project not only gets talked about but that this project gets built,” said McNeil, “and we make sure that we unite these programs for the betterment of the citizens of Dartmouth North, the children and the families of Dartmouth North.”

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The need for services like healthy meals is great in Dartmouth. Last year alone, 27,000 healthy meals were served at the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre.

“We all know that Dartmouth North is one of our most challenged communities,” said Wendy Fraser, executive director with the Dartmouth North Family Centre and Community Food Centre.  “There are more people living on low income in this community than in any other in HRM.”

The Community Food Centre opened in 2015 and at the time was the first facility of its kind in Atlantic Canada. The plan now is to merge the Family Centre on Albro Road and have the two centres operate side-by-side at the Primrose Street site.

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Fraser says it will only greater benefit the community they serve.

“We know we can do more together for less, so it’s cost-effective,” said Fraser. “More importantly, we can better co-ordinate programs and we can offer more services to the community and we can be accessible.”

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It’s anticipated construction of the new Family Centre will begin in November and open in late spring or early summer.

Diana Franklin, a single mother of two, has relied on the services before and does again today. She says staff members are like family and the Food Centre is like a second home.

“And now having the Food Centre and Family Centre becoming one is just going to offer more support and more programming,” said Franklin. “Having them under the one roof is phenomenal because it’s just going to show us how much more we can grow and the sky is the limit.”

It’s anticipated the new Family Centre will open next June.

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