Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada celebrates the resilience and courage of young people who have experienced the child welfare sector nationwide
(Toronto, ON – Nov. 14, 2023) – Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada announced today the launch of A Safe Plate: Recipes and Stories of Young People from Child Welfare, a free digital cookbook aiming to raise awareness about the complex and nuanced issues in the child welfare system and celebrate the tenacity and accomplishments of youth from care. Featuring the personal stories and recipes of nine young people across Canada with lived experience of the child welfare system, A Safe Plate shares recipes of meals that hold special meaning for these young people and provided them with a sense of comfort and home during their time in care. For every copy downloaded of A Safe Plate at cafdn.org/ASafePlate, our generous donor the KARE Foundation will donate $5 to help improve the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system.
“Food has always been a way for my three siblings and I to re-connect,” said Chelsea Wallace, former youth in care. “Being in foster care, it wasn’t always possible for us all to stay under one roof so making and sharing a meal was a way for us to bond when we all did get a chance to be together. Food was a way for us to feel at home and brought us comfort.”
Currently, there are 59,000 children in care across Canada. Thousands of children age out of care each year and almost 300,000 children are at risk of entering the system. Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading charity supporting families, children and youth involved in the child welfare system. Through a national network of partners, the Foundation connects youth in and from care to resources and programs that enable them to continue their education, find meaningful employment or find stable housing and mental health support.
“Food and storytelling are key ingredients to what makes us human,” said Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. “We know food fuels our bodies but, it also feeds our soul by building community, culture, and connection. With A Safe Plate, we have created a space to hold not only recipes from youth formerly in care, but stories too. Stories of struggle, resilience, self-discovery and the incredible power of food to reflect who we are at our core and who we’ve become.”
Submitted by former youth in care from across the country, the recipes featured in A Safe Plate were reviewed and prepared by Chef Frank Parhizgar, Co-owner and Chef at FK Restaurant established in 2010 as Frank’s Kitchen in Toronto.
“It’s an honour to be asked to be part of this project,” said Chef Frank Parhizgar, Co-owner and Chef, FK Restaurant. “Obviously, I’m very passionate about food, so I was happy to help. More importantly, though, I care deeply about the cause and the work that Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is doing to help children and youth in government care. A Safe Plate reflects my belief in the restorative powers of a good meal; it was an honour to give back to the community in this way.”
About Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading charity dedicated to standing up for children and families involved in the child welfare system and standing alongside youth with lived experience. We raise and grant funds and deliver a wide range of high-impact programs and services in partnership with 104 child- and youth-serving agencies across the country. Last year, we supported over 15,000 children, youth, and families. Find out more at www.cafdn.org.
About the Contributors:
Raymond Jordan (RJ) Johnson-Brown: After RJ’s biological mom – a survivor of the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children – was admitted to a treatment facility, RJ was placed in care. RJ’s mushroom pork chops and rice recipe has been passed down from their biological mom’s elders and reminds them of the good times they shared with her.
Alexis “Lexi” Eastman: Raised on a reservation in Manitoba, Lexi went into care at the age of 16. Growing up, food was always a source of stability for her. She would often help her mom with cooking and her pasta dish is her favourite recipe.
Christina McKay: Apprehended by child welfare authorities three days after birth, Christina uses food as a way to make a home out of any space. Her chili recipe is one of the first dishes she learned to make and is very close to her heart.
Jada Kinnaird: Jada went into kin care at the age of 5. She credits her Voodoo Pasta with helping her feel in control of her life and makes it every Sunday night as part of her weekly self-care ritual. She has master’s in political science from the University of Toronto and is an experienced bodybuilder
Chanice McAnuff: When Chanice entered care at the age of 14, food became a way for her to stay connected to her culture. Her macaroni pie recipe is a classic Caribbean dish which continues to bring Chanice comfort and joy today.
Chelsea Wallace: Chelsea was placed in care at the age of 4, along with her three sisters, where they were often separated. Food became a way for them to stay connected to each other. Chelsea’s pizza nachos recipe is one she came up with while they were all in the same foster home and it’s a dish she still turns to for comfort.
Nancy Hoeun: Nancy and her seven siblings went into care when she was 8 years old. Coming from a home with Asian cooking, Nancy desperately missed those familiar tastes and smells. Now, as an adult and a mother, Nancy’s spring rolls and fried rice are a reminder of her mom and her culture.
Jada Kinnaird: Jada went into kin care at the age of 5. She credits her Voodoo Pasta with helping her feel in control of her life and makes it every Sunday night as part of her weekly self-care ritual. She has master’s in political science from the University of Toronto and is an experienced bodybuilder.
Jay Bruneau (they/them): Having grown up in foster and group homes, Jay experienced challenges with food until the age of 19. Through their potato and lemon salmon recipe, Jay found a way to regain control over their life and take care of themself.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Jessie-Lynn Cross: Jessie-Lynn came into care at the age of 14. Her Yorkshire pudding recipe – passed down in her family for generations – is a way for her to stay connected to her past and her family’s traditions.
For media inquiries:
Tonya Reid, Senior Manager, Communications
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, [email protected] (416) 923-0924 x 298