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with Community Outreach + Inclusion Coordinator, Richard Blackwood

In this series, we take a look at the amazing work being accomplished by members of our community. These are the game-changers, the inspirational leaders, and the passion-driven individuals who are changing our community, our health and our planet. 

Q. Introduce yourself: tell us who you are and what you do.

A. My name is  Richard Blackwood, I am the Community Outreach & Inclusion Coordinator for Impact Kitchen. I collaborate with community organizations on ways that we can support their needs whether through donations, volunteering or hosting events. Community building also extends to creating a welcoming and engaging space in our locations. On the diversity, inclusion & equality side I strive to continue to create a work environment that all team members feel valued, respected, and appreciated for their unique identities.

Q. How did you get started with Impact Kitchen? 

A. I got started at Impact Kitchen as a Manager On Duty at the King Street location back in May of 2018. Impact’s core values of impacting the community and creating a health conscious lifestyle aligned with my core beliefs. My ideas and vision for community outreach was well received by Impact co-founder Josh Broun and I was given the opportunity to execute some of those concepts in 2019.

Q. How has your role changed? 

A. It has morphed from volunteering my time hosting a free Sunday Brunch program, to a permanent part time role, with an allocated budget, where I get to meet more of our amazing team members across our locations. The role has become an important part of Impact's culture as it takes on building the framework for diversity and inclusion initiatives and having a bigger role in supporting our internal and external communities. 

Q. What was your vision for the work you do? What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

A. My vision for community outreach has always been rooted by my personal belief that everyone should have access to the same foods. No one should go hungry and healthy food options are a right for all people. The work I do tries to address these issues through various initiatives and supporting our community where we can. I hope to accomplish getting our team members to lead our community outreach ideas and I want to establish a team member-led Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee.

Q. Can you tell us some of the things you’ve already accomplished in this role? 

A. Definitely. I have:

  • Created a free Sunday Brunch Program that served over sixty families from the Regent Park Child & Family Centre

  • Created Impact Kitchen’s preliminary Corporate Responsibility pledge

  • Created an educational forum for staff members to learn, teach or share their skills

  • Hosted open spaces for team members to express themselves on topics of inclusion and equity

  • Donated over 200 portions of Impact Kitchen soup to the residence of Moss Park with the assistance of a grassroot organization called 50 Buns

  • Established an annual Holiday Drive for The Red Door Family Shelter

Q. Outside of work, what lights you up? (We hear you love plants.) 

A. Yes, my plant squad is one of the many things that lights me up. I love food and will take any opportunity to make something from scratch, cycling trails in the city, learning how accessibility can improve a user's experience, and staying active just to name a few.

Q. What’s your favourite thing to eat at Impact? 

A. I have a few favourites lol. The Warrior Bowl modified with extra hummus, no sprouts and chorizo is amazing. Other go-tos are the Almond Butter + Chia Jam Toast, the Almond Protein Brownie (my all time favourite dessert)  and let’s not forget the Chicken Noodle Soup. 

Q. And finally, how do you strive to make an impact everyday?

I stay present in the moment. Staying present creates a space that allows me to engage in connections that support someone else’s growth or addresses a need they have.

We look forward to introducing you to more members of our community who are making an Impact everyday.

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