‘Everyone Eats’ Brandon returns for autumn of nutrition and community-building

Photo: Everyone Eats Brandon

A chef-inspired meal of the day that creates top-quality, nutritious dinners at an affordable price is back.

The popular Everyone Eats Brandon initiative relaunches this week after a month off to tweak and improve the program following a successful pilot project over the summer.

“We learned there is a need in the community for this type of program and we saw many people really relying on us,” said Nicholas Namespetra, Manager of Food Services at Brandon University, where the meals are prepared and available for curbside pickup. “Now that we’re back, there will be even more access to donated meals every day.”

The program operates on a simple pay-what-you can model. Each meal is offered at a suggested cost of $10, which covers the $8 cost as well as a portion of someone else’s meal.

No profit is made on the meals, and in fact the program relies on a number of sponsors to ensure at least 200 meals are available each evening.

Those who can afford to pay more than $10 are encouraged to top up their total even more, further helping to cover costs for others. On the other hand, if money is tight, people are able to pay what they can for each meal — any amount, whether that’s less than $8 or even nothing.

The meals are all the same, as is the pickup, meaning there is no stigma for those accessing the subsidized meals. During the pilot this summer, Everyone Eats Brandon served more than 3,800 meals. Of those, 765 were free.

Even before the pandemic, food insecurity affected 14.4% of households in Manitoba and more than one in five children. Manitobans are also greatly affected by rising rates of diet-related disease, including diabetes. Everyone Eats is an initiative to help people meet their immediate nutritional needs while also providing people with the dignity of being able to contribute what they are able to pay for their meal.“Our goal is always to bring awareness of the rise of food insecurity in our region and to provide top quality, nutritionally balanced dinners to everyone,” Namespetra said.

Meals are available three evenings a week, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with curbside pickup at Brandon University available from 4–6 p.m. A limited amount of volunteer delivery is available for those in self-isolation or who have limited mobility.

The redesigned website is smoother and easier for ordering, Namespetra said, and can be accessed at EveryoneEatsBrandon.ca. Orders can also be made by phone at 204-571-8524, and should be made by 2 p.m. for pickup that day.

This week’s menu:

  • Wednesday, September 23 – Rotini Bolognese
  • Thursday, September 24 – Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice and Vegetables
  • Friday, September 25 – Herb Crusted Pork Chop with Roasted Baby Potatoes

(Brandon University News)