Calgary Stampede uses kitchen to cook meals for Canadian food banks

The Calgary Stampede is joining a Montreal-based charity in the battle against food insecurity in Canada.

The Stampede is opening its kitchen to help La Tablée des Chefs with its Solidarity Kitchens initiative, which helps produce meals for Canadian food banks.

La Tablée des Chefs says it launched the Solidarity Kitchens initiative at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for suppliers, farmers, restaurants and hotels to donate food that would otherwise go to waste.

The charity works with distributors to deliver food donations to kitchens where it can be cooked, frozen and given to food banks all over Canada — including in Calgary.

Read more: Montreal-based charity makes food security a top priority during COVID-19 pandemic

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“Since the pandemic began, the Calgary Food Bank has received phenomenal support,” Calgary Food Bank executive director James McAra said. “This initiative expands the support further into the community.

“We look forward to offering meals to those who may not have otherwise had access to them.”

La Tablée des Chefs said all organizations that opened up their kitchens to help prepare the food, including the Calgary Stampede, were paid $1 per meal, ensuring that all the chefs and workers from the hospitality industry who took part were supported “during this difficult time.”

The money to pay the workers was provided by $1.3M in funding donated to the charity from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, La Tablée des Chefs said.

Read more: Volunteers create big stir to feed thousands of Calgarians in need

“As a community organization, we are so proud to be able to support those in need through this incredible initiative, while also being provided the opportunity to mobilize our own team back to work,” said Derek Dale, executive chef at the Calgary Stampede.

Other organizations opening their kitchens for the Solidarity Kitchen initiative include the Canucks Hospitality Team at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Kitchen24 and the Fairmont Royal York of Toronto.

La Tablée des Chefs said its goal for 2021 is to cook and deliver more than two million servings to Canadian food banks.

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