Fabulously frugal: We all get by with a little help from our friends

Besides Nova Scotia, Ontario has the worst ranking on Food Bank Canada‘s Poverty Report Card. The organization notes that, in March of 2023, there were a total of 1,935,911 visits to food banks across Canada — a 35 per cent increase over the number of visits in March the year before. Photo by Aaron Doucett.

Hello, my fabulously frugal followers!

In this column, we’ll be looking at something a bit more serious in tone than in the columns that I’ve written before it. Don’t get me wrong — there is nothing fabulous about food insecurity. But what is fabulous is that there are many, many compassionate and dedicated organizations that aim to address hunger and the need for healthy foods to nourish the soul. And people — because donors, both of time and food, are fabulous! And what is even more fabulous is knowing about those organizations — not just for your own needs, but so that you’re able to help direct others who may need such resources.

Food insecurity affects many people and through no fault of their own. Rising accommodation costs, the car that needs brakes, winter clothing for growing kids… it’s all taking a bite out of everyone’s budget.

Here, I’ve prepared a list of resources for no- or low-cost foods in these difficult times. There have been many changes to programs due to the pandemic. If readers are aware of other food resources, please let us know so we can update this info! (Email editor Tori Stafford at [email protected])

Of course, if you’re able to help these wonderful providers, please do. If you have some free time to fill, these organizations are often looking for hands to help.

Loving Spoonful – Local Food Market Stands

Food at no cost. Take what you need. No questions asked.

Where and when

Loving Spoonful’s Local Food Market Stands allow access to fresh, local produce at no charge. Photo via Loving Spoonful website.

Ontario Works
362 Montreal Street, Kingston
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Trellis HIV and Community Care
844A Princess Street, Kingston
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:45 p.m.

Kingston East Community Centre
779 Highway 15, Kingston
Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Rideau Heights Community Centre
85 Mccauly Street, Kingston
Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

KEYS Employment and Newcomer Services
182 Sydenham Street, Kingston
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

KEYS Employment and Newcomer Services
255C Bagot Street, Kingston
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Kingston Community Health Centre
263 Weller Avenue, Kingston
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Good Food Box Kingston – Fresh Food Market Pop-Up Fresh

Run by Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC), this service offers affordable produce and chef-created gourmet healthy options to Kingston and the surrounding areas.
Each market location accepts debit, credit, and cash.

Where and when

Rideau Heights Community Centre
85 Maccauley Street, Kingston
Wednesdays, 2 to 5 p.m.

Amherstview Community Hall
177 Upper Park Road, Amherstview
Thursdays, 2 to 5 p.m.

YMCA Wright Crescent
100 Wright Crescent, Kingston
Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Artillery Park Aquatic Centre
382 Bagot Street, Kingston
Saturdays, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Also through Good Food Box Kingston, residents can place orders for a Good Food Box! Order food and pick up a box of wholesome fruit and vegetables at a discounted price.
Find info here: https://www.goodfoodboxkingston.com/shop

Food banks

Kingstonist file photo from the Partners in Mission Food Bank in 2012.

Partners in Mission
Provides one hamper each month, with about seven days’ worth of food in it.
Baby supplies such as diapers, potty training pants, baby wipes, food, pablum, and formula are also often available upon request.
Quite often, they also have pet food available from various donors. Those in need of pet food can inquire at the time of their scheduled grocery hamper appointment.

Community Choice Pantry (Salvation Army)
Community Choice is a model of emergency food distribution that enables individuals to select their own food, much like a grocery store. 

St. Lawrence College Food Pantry (for students at SLC)
Apply online

AMS food bank (for students at Queen’s)
613-533-6000 and ask for the AMS foodbank
The AMS Food Bank provides a confidential and non-judgmental food service to members of the Queen’s community, and aims to provide patrons with food services in the most comfortable environment possible.

St. Vincent De Paul Emergency Food Pantry
The Emergency Food Pantry provides two days of food. Quantity of food adjusted for family size. Individuals and families can visit the pantry one time per month.

The Food Sharing Project
The Food Sharing Project provides the breakfast, lunch and hearty snack programs which operate in all 88 schools across KFL&A. Any student is welcome to access the program in their school and for more information, families can contact their child’s school or teacher or go to www.foodsharingproject.org

Amherstview Food Bank
Administered by the Amherstview Lions Club, call the number above to find out the details regarding this small food bank located in Loyalist Township.

Gananoque Food Bank
Patrons must provide required information, and will then be provided with a seven-day supply of food based on family size and the availability of food currently on hand. “The only requirement to use the Gananoque and Area Food Bank is need.”

South Frontenac Community Services – Good Food Hampers (office is in Sydenham)
613-376-6477 ext. 203
Hampers include seven days’ worth of perishable and non-perishable food items, amounts based on the number of people in the household. In the summer, the SFCS garden provides fresh produce to supplement the food hampers.


  • Food hampers are available for pick-up Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Call two days prior to pickup to place an order.
  • Deliveries are available if necessary. A delivery fee may apply.
  • When placing your order, be sure to mention any special dietary needs.

Food Items as available:

  • Fresh seasonal produce from the community garden.
  • Perishables such as vegetables, fruit, milk, bread, eggs, meat and protein products.
  • Family staples such as peanut butter, cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, soup and healthy school snacks.
  • Diapers, formula, and baby food are usually available.
  • Personal hygiene/toiletries, pet food, upon request and availability.

Storrington Lions Food Bank (Inverary, Sunbury, Battersea area)

Meal services

St. Mary’s Drop in Centre
Light meals and drop in
260 Brock Street, Kingston
613-546-5521 ext. 30
1 to 4 p.m. every day

Lunch by George
Meals and snacks
129 Wellington Street, Kingston
613-548-4617 ext. 30
Monday to Friday
9 a.m.: Hot drinks and snacks
10 a.m.: Soup and Crackers
11 a.m.: Hot lunch

St. Vincent de Paul
Takeout meal program
85 Stephen Street, Kingston
Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Kingston Alliance Church
Meals and Café
Palace Road and Bath Road, Kingston
Free Café: Snacks, coffee, tea: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Hot three-course lunch: 12 to 2 p.m.

Martha’s Table
No cost meals
629 Princess Street (Princess and Nelson Streets), Kingston
https://marthastable.ca (scroll down quite far on the page)
Breakfast in the dining room: 9 to 11 a.m.
Open 12 to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday for dine in meal.
Meals to go also available 12 to 2 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, meals to go 12 to 2 p.m.
Delivery available: 343-580-1519

Photos via Saeid Tahampton on Facebook.

Thinking outside the box with a free food fridge

Saeid and Merola Tahampton opened Parry & Penny’s Community Fridge in 2022, and while the couple have retired from operating The News Stand in the LaSalle Plaza, they continue to operate the Community Fridge — in honour of their mothers — outside of the store, which is under new ownership.

Located at 506 Days Road in Kingston, take what you need, and give what you can!

All of these programs are dedicated to helping people and are often staffed by folks who have lived experiences and are clients of the respective organizations, too.

As The Beatles sang, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

Kingston resident Sarah Cronk offers tips on money-saving strategies and the best deals to be found in local grocery stores in her bi-weekly Kingstonist column, Fabulously Frugal. Have any questions for Sarah or things you’d like her to investigate in terms of cost savings? Let us know! Email Kingstonist Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].

2 thoughts on “Fabulously frugal: We all get by with a little help from our friends

  • Thank you. How about a list of Christmas gift giveaways. Seems to be a lot asking for donations.

  • Thanks for this full info! I’ve noticed people both depositing and taking food from the fridge in Lasalle Park – it appears to be checked regularly. It appears to be working.

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