Using the Power of Food to Reach Vulnerable Youth

September 27, 2020

Amidst all the uncertainty in our daily lives, now more than ever we need to hear positive stories about the impact food programs can make for under-resourced children in our country. This is one of those stories.  Together with President’s Choice Children’s Charity, ProAction Cops & Kids is removing barriers with the power of food. 

Based in the Greater Toronto Area, ProAction Cops and Kids is a non-profit organization created to establish positive relationships between law enforcement and at-risk youth, strengthening communities through the development of mutual respect and understanding. Dedicated police officers spend time volunteering to provide kids with essential skills, access to mentors, and opportunities that they never had before. 


“Because of the charity, we can offer valuable knowledge…on nutrition education and how to shop for affordable meals, helping them build a stronger future.” Jean Milligan, ProAction Cops and Kids 

Food-based education programming plays a major role, using the universal bonds that cooking and eating create to build trust within the community. The food program provides youth the knowledge they need to make healthy food choices, shopping on a budget and safe food handling. “We incorporate food into our programs because this is what is lacking in many of their households” says Jean Milligan, Executive Director of ProAction Cops & Kids. “Because of the charity, we can offer youth access to valuable knowledge on selecting well-balanced meals, nutrition education and how to shop for affordable meals, helping them build a stronger future”.  

The officers who lead these programs get to see first-hand the positive impact that the cooking program has made, “One of our parents expressed how much her child enjoyed the program, and how they have provided her with shopping lists of ingredients so they can make some of the dishes they learned during the class.” Explains a ProAction Program Officer, “We’ve had many kids who knew nothing about cooking learn many new skills that are immediately transferable to their home life.” 

Together, President’s Choice Children’s Charity and ProAction Cops & Kids are committed to reaching vulnerable youth with food access and food knowledge.  

“Cooking together and breaking bread is an age-old way of making and strengthening relationships.  This is what happens during the cooking program. It has filled a void in many young people's lives. It has given them a very valuable skill, enhanced their self-esteem, and provided them with a 'family' which in some cases, was lacking in their lives”. 

If you’ve been inspired by this work and would like to support it, please consider donating today at pcchildrenscharity.ca.