The Hatch Founders | Calgary’s Food & Hospitality Game-Changers 2024

Started by six friends, this entirely volunteer-run community initiative is fighting food insecurity and creating social change.

Clockwise from top left: Gabriella Wong Ken, Stephanie Wong Ken, Natalie Yeung, Jasmine Wong, Natasha Wong Ken and Amanda Gómez. Photo courtesy of The Hatch.

About a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Amanda Gómez and five friends — Gabriella Wong Ken, Tasha Wong Ken, Steph Wong Ken, Natalie Yeung and Jasmine Wong — noticed more people in their community of Rosscarrock were struggling to access the food they needed. So, the six friends decided to do something about it. They co-founded The Hatch and opened a community fridge on the side of the Rosscarrock Community Hall in November 2021. Still in operation, the fridge is stocked with items like fresh produce, eggs, dairy products and more, and everyone is invited to take what they need and leave what they can.

Many grocery items cost 20 per cent more in mid-2023 compared to 2021, so the need for this resource continues to grow. In fact, Gómez says it only takes about three hours for the fridge to go from fully stocked to empty.

As well as tackling food insecurity, the fridge connects community members. The Hatch co-founders work with a team of at least 28 volunteers who drop off food and check on the fridge three times a day to ensure it’s clean and the food is of good quality.

In 2022, the team created a handbook, available online and in print, to help other communities in Calgary and beyond who are interested in launching a similar project.

“We are a small part of what’s going on in the city to help folks experiencing food insecurity, but I like to think that our work is bringing attention to food justice, food access and what it means to have equal access to good food,” says Gómez.

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This article appears in the March 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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