This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

November-December 2020

Feeding Black and Indigenous families

New volunteer-based project tackles food insecurity during the pandemic

Christine Jean-Baptiste

Image courtesy of Uplift Kitchen


Sequestered in each of their own homes, neighbours Antonia Lawrence and Emily Carson didn’t have family around when COVID-19 hit.

All they had was the group chat shared between their friendly neighbours. Often, involving inquiries for grocery trips, wanting to share food items, and recipes between each other—a system built on the sentiment that sharing is caring.

“We kind of created our own little neighbourhood bubble,” said Emily Carson, co-founder of Uplift Kitchen.

On top of the health pandemic, a racial one emerged. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and many more Black and Indigenous people, created global uproar.

“We kind of looked at each other at one point and said how do we do something to help?” Carson said. “How do we make sure that the people who are on the front lines, either working or protesting are being safe and secure … And so we automatically went to food.”

Food insecurity disproportionately impacts marginalized communities in Canada. A study shows that Black Canadian families are more than twice as likely to go hungry than white households. Similarly, almost half of all Indigenous families in Canada struggle to access food.

According to the co-founders, Uplift Kitchen started out as an initiative to help a small circle of people but bloomed into a delivery service for Black and Indigenous families all over the GTA.

The co-founders both have backgrounds in non-profit work and food service, which they put to use in the creation of Uplift Kitchen.

“When it comes to making sure that people are fed and clothed and housed, it’s a no-brainer for us. We’re lucky to be in a position where we can help other people, and it would be a waste of our talents not to,” said Lawrence.

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