A Short History
Feeding Others of Dartmouth Society, or F.O.O.D., as it is known today, began in the late 1960s as a nutrition/cooking class for low-income women who were on social assistance. They met once a week at 54 Alderney Dr. in the O’Brien Building with their instructor, nutritionist Joy Johns. These women decided to share their food creations with single, less fortunate people in the area. About six to 10 people came for lunch once a week.
Judy Dillon, a local dietitian, assumed responsibility in 1970. The cooking classes ceased but the meals for those in need continued. Volunteers were cooking, serving, cleaning and delivering meals to those too sick to travel to the O’Brien facility. As more clients were served, the program became more formal and staff were paid through a Social Services program known as “Project 50.”
The number of people coming in for meals, as well as those requiring delivery, continued to increase throughout the 1970s. A Dartmouth Meals-on-Wheels Program was instituted to accommodate those requiring off-site services. Linda Wentzell coordinated the serving program which shared its small space with Meals-on-Wheels.
In 1985 Kevin Goyetche was hired to supervise what was then referred to as the Hot Lunch Program. In 1986, the Meals-on-Wheels portion of the program separated from the Hot Lunch Program. A group of Dartmouth churches, the Dartmouth Christian Relief and Development Coalition, co-sponsored the work of the Hot Lunch Program with Dartmouth Social Services to form what is now known as Feeding Others of Dartmouth.
With the demolition of the O’Brien building the program operated with no fixed address for nearly a year. In the summer of 1989, with the assistance of the Mayor John Savage, the current property at 43 Wentworth Street was loaned to F.O.O.D. as the location for the continuation of the program. Instrumental in developing and expanding this community service was the leadership provided by the Rev. Jim Chang. His desire to assist the less fortunate encouraged others, including churches and individuals, to become involved and offer their support.
From its initial three days per week serving schedule in 1990, the program expanded to five days per week. Six years later, the service was further expanded to seven days as a way of decreasing the stress of emergency food service to single adults on weekends. An additional expansion occurred in 2000, when suppers on a twice-weekly basis were offered. Up until the pandemic began in March 2020, the program was serving lunch seven days a week and suppers on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Covid-19 necessitated an additional change to takeaway meal service only, from Monday-Friday between 11:30 and 12:30. This will continue for the foreseeable future. Approximately 3,000 meals are served each month.
On April 1, 1999, F.O.O.D. was incorporated and now operates with its own board of directors. As the administrative body, the board oversees finances and the management of F.O.O.D. Because of the number of people who visit the kitchen every day, F.O.O.D. purchased the property next door to the house to give guests a suitable place to wait for their meals. Most recently, a gazebo was built and the property was landscaped and flowers, shrubs, and plants were planted to complete the transformation. The program continues to be supported by organizations throughout Halifax Regional Municipality as well as the local community.
Both the former Mayor John Savage and his wife Margaret were huge supporters of F.O.O.D. The house where the program operates is now known as Margaret’s House, named in her memory. Further, the current mayor, Mike Savage, and his brothers and sisters have extended the legacy of their parents through their active support of the F.O.O.D. program.