Data needed to address root causes
Located in Shediac, New Brunswick, the Shediac Food Bank/Vestiaire St-Joseph (SFB) serves 18 communities and sees an average of 700 clients every month. SFB is run by a team of over 60 members and volunteers.
Homelessness, substance abuse, mental health and unemployment are just some of the situations faced by SFB clients. However, without an accessible way to capture and record client information, many personal situations were not being addressed.
More than just a database
Before using Link2Feed, SFB was spending a lot of their time searching through paperwork to uncover each client’s needs. Now, they can pull up information instantly and better understand each client’s specific situation and needs in order to help them more efficiently.
Shediac’s Executive Director, Mark LeBlanc, explains how in one instance, he was reading through contact notes and found a young individual living off of only $25/month after he paid his rent and noticed that he hadn’t gotten his grade 12 level education. “I really wanted to help this kid out. So, the next time he was in I told him about our on-site learning centre. He ended up taking and completing our GED program. Now this young man has a job and is going to college,” said LeBlanc. “Without Link2Feed, he would have just slipped through the cracks.”
Link2Feed helps address issues beyond food. By identifying why their community needs access to their services, SFB can now address root causes while saving time, reducing stress and ultimately, extending more compassionate care to their clients.
Link2Feed helps engage community to effect change
“In one quick glance, I was able to see that 5-to-18-year-olds are the ones relying on our food bank the most,” LeBlanc said. “This is where food banks across the country can benefit from the data that Link2Feed provides.”
By using Link2Feed, SFB was about to give local city officials a better understanding of the number and age groups of community members they’re working with, enabling them to secure further assistance and figure out solutions and help with fundraising initiatives.
“As someone who was once homeless and relied on food banks myself, I understand what many of our clients are going through. Not finishing high school contributed to my own situation. Something I have since corrected by getting my GED and going to college. That’s what I love about Link2Feed. I can see if a lack of education is holding somebody back. Then provide that person with options so they can move their life forward.” – FB Executive Director, Mark LeBlanc
Originally published on Food Banks Canada. Kevin MacLellan, KM strategic.