For many, it has become a daily routine to prepare nutritious meals for our families and friends, served on carefully chosen dinnerware. The food we eat becomes merely a second thought to the presentation and experience of our meals. An even further thought is the millions of children currently living with food insecurity in our country. In your average classroom of 30 students, five of them do not have access to a daily nutritious meal.
Each year, communities around the world connect on World Food Day to increase awareness of global hunger in hopes of inspiring solutions for change. But this year is not like the others.
In a time where job loss is at an all-time high and food industries are struggling to stay afloat, it is important now more than ever to highlight and support the food heroes of our communities, who continue to fight for a future where no one is left hungry.
Since Fable’s inception in 2019, we have been partnered with Mealshare, a local organization making it their mission to fight youth hunger through partnerships with restaurants and companies in the food sector.
With every purchase you make from Fable, a meal is directly donated to a family in need. Thanks to Mealshare, Fable has been able to provide a nutritious meal to over 8,000 families in less than a year.
“We can bring joy to some people who are extremely privileged, who can afford really nice dinnerware and they get a nice meal in their own home. But we're also figuring out ways that we can bring joy to the other meals where people are maybe not as privileged,” says Fable CEO Joe Parenteau.
To Parenteau, the partnership with Mealshare was “a no-brainer”. Not only is it a way to give back, but simultaneously involving the community, allowing anyone to be a food hero in the simplest way.
“We've partnered with Mealshare because we think they are a food hero,” says Parenteau. “In some sense, this is our way to help solve this problem, especially with youth. When it's very much out of their control if they can get a nutritious meal. Sometimes they can’t solve that problem for themselves.”
Mealshare was founded in 2013 by Andrew Hall and his cousin Jeremy Bryant. Since then, their restaurant affiliates have been the main source of donations, feeding millions of children by simply ordering from a menu.
Unfortunately, COVID 19 has led restaurant closures to skyrocket across Canada, causing an incredible loss of Mealshare’s main source of support. Factoring in rising levels of pandemic-related job loss, Hall is afraid youth food insecurity could rise to one in three children. Less than a year ago, it was one in four.
“While Mealshare has been having a challenging year with our restaurants not being able to support us as much, the problem is actually getting worse,” says Hall. “It’s sort of a double-edged sword right now.”
Though business does not look the same as it did merely a year ago, Mealshare is learning to adapt. Diversifying the business models of their partners allows Mealshare to continue delivering healthy foods to children, without losing support.
“Someone like Fable, this works out great in a year where there's actually more food being eaten at home,” says Hall. “It’s amazing for us to be able to find partnerships that still have to do with eating, food, and that piece of culture. Thinking about other people eating while you’re eating. Still able to provide impact through a related business.”
According to Hall, there are many ways people can be food heroes, including scheduling monthly food bank donations throughout the year, and what’s called ‘voting with your dollar’.
“Every day we have opportunities to support companies that are doing good things and to not support companies that we don’t believe in,” he says. “If you want to change the way companies operate, they will follow where the dollars are going. Where customer preferences are going. The way you spend your money shows them the way consumers want them to act. Push to companies that give back in some kind of way.”
In a year where the world has become separated, it’s critical to come together for causes that affect us as a global community. Giving back is not only something Fable does, but it’s what Fable is.
“We can help make people a beautiful table, and help people have this beautiful experience in their home, which is very important,” says Parenteau. “But at the same time knowing that when you purchase a set of dinnerware, it also gives back and supports someone with a meal.”
To learn more about Mealshare and how you can support their cause, visit mealshare.ca
Browse and shop products to directly feed youth in need through Fable
Written by Sasha Zeidler
Photography by Jaco Pretorius and Mealshare