The identify of Helen Castonguay’s new enterprise — the Cultivating Hope Foundation — succinctly sums up what she’s hoping to execute.
The president and govt director of the new agency, which has utilized for federal charitable position, has a intention of cultivating each figuratively and basically in Niagara.
In places of work in a federal immigration making on Portage Road in Niagara Falls, Castonguay is developing nutrient-packed microgreens and herbs destined for nearby charities and small-earnings families though she finalizes an settlement to commence growing healthy deliver in a roomy former hen barn regionally.
But Castonguay is also setting up to cultivate hope amongst vulnerable persons in Niagara, such as people dealing with homelessness, to support them assist on their own to a better life by means of career training that could incorporate landing employment on Niagara farms, and abilities such as resumé producing and interviewing.
Castonguay, who used to run a farm and country retail store, made a decision to use her agricultural experience to assistance supply fresh produce to regional foods banks, in which produce is also a best inquire amid purchasers.
“We’re focusing on food stuff insecurity,” reported Castonguay, who has regarded what it is like to wrestle in daily life.
“I have been in a posture in which I could not afford to purchase fresh new vegetables,” she stated. “I had to obtain a minimum amount amount of money of low cost food, and frequently that is packs of mac and cheese or just pasta.”
She reported lack of access to healthy foods can have a spiralling impact on someone’s lifetime.
“It sort of snowballs,” she explained. “It can have an affect on your self-esteem, your psychological position, you can get melancholy and you get health challenges.”
As her agency grows and hires staff, Castonguay programs to get started schooling the vulnerable and has already dedicated Cultivating Hope to becoming a certified dwelling wage employer with the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network.
“As an organization seeking to assist decrease meals insecurity in the Niagara area, we felt it was critical to be a component of the resolution in any way feasible,” she reported. “Our staff ought to be the to start with to reward from what we are striving to do as an organization.”
Castonguay explained she hopes to assault difficulties these as homelessness at the root of the dilemma, having persons on the fringe of modern society into the workforce so they can support on their own and their families on an ongoing foundation, and connecting them with other companies offering crucial solutions these as physical and mental health treatment.
“We want to be a hub the place somebody can occur in, we can evaluate them, locate what their requires and issues are, and obtain what this person wants to be a healthy, effective citizen and to have a life they’re happy of and how they can help their family,” she reported.
Castonguay hopes to get the job done with regional submit-secondary institutions to discover out which sectors and careers are most in want of persons to fill vacant positions, so she can tailor coaching.
“That’s the population we’re trying to enable: those who don’t have the skill or the means to seem at these diverse selections they do not even know exist,” she said.
Castonguay hopes her agency will grow to be self-adequate monetarily by advertising produce.
But Pam Farrell, government director of the Mature Neighborhood Food Literacy Centre in downtown Niagara Falls, claimed Cultivating Hope is by now donating microgreens and herbs to clients at her charitable company, supporting reduced-earnings families in Niagara’s most disadvantaged region.
“To be in a position to have something like microgreens, which you could only get at specialty retailers and would not be economical (for clientele) is priceless,” explained Farrell.
“Her products and solutions assist convey healthy food within just attain … and most importantly are available in the course of the 12 months,” mentioned Farrell. “To be capable to get individuals fresh new every single 7 days, we’re just so blessed that she’s supporting us.”
For additional details visit https://cultivatinghope.ca/.
Tale Behind THE Story: Just after studying of the new Cultivating Hope Foundation, This 7 days attained out to find out what effect it is getting on vulnerable people today.