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Dilys Toole, CFM

Dilys Toole is part of the Nackawic eight Community Food Mentors (CFM) volunteers that keep an ambitious array of food programs going in the village. She took her training six years ago in the same class as Gail Farnsworth and now spearheads the Feed the Hawks school lunch program three days per week .

“Whenever we have an event, I’m the first to sign up for the food part,” she says. Aside from Feed the Hawks, she is also part of the Friday Lunch and Learn and helps out at the Lions luncheons.

Growing up, her family always enjoyed good food and sit-down meals. “My mother was quite a good cook and my husband’s parents were ‘foodies’ in their day and enjoyed fine dining.” She subscribes to several food oriented magazines. “I love trying new things especially gluten free options. If I were younger, I’d love to have a restaurant.”

Before her training, Dilys admits, “I didn’t realize what food security was.”

When she learned that many children at the elementary school didn’t have money for the price of a lunch and were going hungry, she got involved in Feed the Hawks three days a week. The program is in its second year and is all inclusive. Anyone can receive a free lunch if they want it. “ We even provided a lunch for a teacher once, who forgot hers at home.”

Dilys is responsible for purchasing food based on what’s on sale at the local grocery store, then delivers the lunches the next day. “We provide them with a sandwich, juice, a vegetable, and yogurt or fruit for dessert.”

The sandwiches are usually ham and cheese or Wow Butter, a peanut butter alternative that tastes almost like the real thing.

Dilys also helps in the Little Chef Program for kids in grades 4-5. This is a learn to cook program assisted by the high school students in the Culinary Arts Program. “They’re so enthusiastic. At home they don’t have a chance to cook. Everybody is in too much of a hurry.” And they take the information about food and cooking techniques that they learn home to their families.

The kids love the help and attention that they receive from the high school students who, in turn, “Like the idea that they’re helping other people. There’s an actual result that you can see.” So, it’s win win for all concerned.

When asked about the most useful aspects of her training, Dilys says, “The main thing is CFM training gives you confidence. People listen to you more.” She believes that she learned the most from the Food Safety Certification part of the training. She says, you have food handling practices verified and receive a certificate. That goes a long way to lend credibility to your projects. The training also made her more willing to volunteer.

Dilys has developed her own way of doing things in more than one regard. She jokes a bit about people feeling self conscious and unattractive while having to wear hair nets during the CFM course and the Food Safety Certification segment. Everyone looked for alternatives that would still be effective in keeping hair out of food. “Some people wear baseball caps, but I’m a bandana person.”