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Boxing up a healthy meal

Fresh Food Box program helps students access healthy foods.

Photograph of Peer Health Educators with food packages
Rose Welsh and Alex Hemmerich, volunteers with Peer Health Educators, hold up bags containing fresh food boxes before students come to pick them up. (Supplied photo.)

Food and community are two bedrocks of wellness, and Queen’s is connecting students with both this semester through a new program that provides free recipe boxes and a live virtual cooking tutorial.

The Fresh Food Box program will offer 20-30 boxes on a first-come, first-served basis four times throughout the winter term. The next set of boxes will be available Feb. 25.

“We want to help students have the chance to cook an easy, nutritious meal at home amid the stresses of the semester. The optional online cooking session will help them learn kitchen skills and connect with peers who have also received a recipe box,” says Beth Blackett, Health Promotion Project Specialist, Student Wellness Services (SWS). “The recipes and ingredients will change with each box, but they will all be plant-based and dairy free so they can be accessible to as many as possible.”

Funding for the program has been provided by the Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, and extensive health and safety protocols have been implemented as part of the university’s Campus Operations Group processes. To ensure physical distancing is maintained, students must sign up for a scheduled pick up window.

All the ingredients are sourced from Queen’s Hospitality Services, and each box makes roughly four servings of a meal. All recipes will feature a legume-based protein, such as lentils or chickpeas.

Queen’s students play an integral role in the program, as Peer Health Educators - student volunteers with SWS - pack and distribute the boxes.

“I got involved with the Fresh Food Box program to promote the importance of eating healthy foods to maintain one’s overall wellbeing,” says Rose Welsh (Artsci'22), a student volunteer with Peer Health Educators. “Some students might struggle to afford healthy foods or feel lost when trying to plan for or cook specific meals, and the Fresh Food Box helps address these problems.”

Upcoming Fresh Food Box dates for winter 2021

February 25: pick-up from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with cooking session from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

March 18:  pick-up from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with cooking session from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

April 15: pick-up from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with cooking session from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Learn more on the SWS website.