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Food centre that denounced Kraft Dinner, other items gets $92G in provincial cash

The Parkdale Food Centre, which recently denounced chips, cookies, Kraft Dinner and other foods is getting a $92,000 provincial government grant.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation, which has its own board, selects the grant recipients, but the funds come from transfer payments via the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Centre co-ordinator Karen Secord said the money will be used for the collective kitchen initiative.

"For people who are living in marginal housing, for guys that live in rooming houses for example that only have a tiny little fridge, they're going to be able to come in and cook with us...and make big pots of things and then they're going to be able to take it themselves and put it in containers which we'll supply and store it onsite with us in a commercial freezer...People are going to be getting whole food they made themselves."

Secord sparked a debate last month after stating that certain donations and items were not welcome and in some instances sent back to the Ottawa Food Bank, causing some residents to fume and pledge not to give in the future.

Ottawa-Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi said at the official presentation on Thursday he had no qualms about the centre getting provincial cash.

"Well, I'm very proud to be supporting Parkdale Food Centre because it's really making a positive difference in people's lives...It's just not a food bank anymore, this is a community place where more personal interest is being taken as to what people eat, how they prepare their food."

Secord boasted donations have not taken a hit, and in fact, are up tenfold compared to last August. She insisted the centre is seeing even more fresh items since her divisive remarks.

"We've had farmers coming from as far away as an hour in Quebec, bringing us fresh produce. The other day, we had a farmer from Buckingham come in with two great big buckets full of organic kale, cucumbers and zucchini."

Secord appeared to backtrack on Thursday by insisting Kraft Dinner and other so-called unhealthy foods are, and always were, accepted.

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