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Natasha’s Pandemic Food Experience

What is you/your family’s migration story?

I was born and raised in Richmond, BC.

What does food mean to you?

Food makes me happy. I like looking at food. I like the delicious smells and I especially enjoy eating.

How do you normally help out at home when preparing for meals?

Right now I don’t cook much. My caregiver makes food for me but I can make simple things like toast and instant oatmeal for breakfast.

How would you describe your diet? What is a healthy diet to you?

I eat balanced meals like meat and vegetables but I like having snacks. I know it’s not healthy to eat a lot of snacks but granola bars, chips, cookies and chocolate are my favorite treats. A healthy diet to me means eating vegetables and fruits. My favorite fruits are oranges, apples and bananas.

How has the pandemic impacted the way you eat and access food (e.g. group meals, restaurants, home cooking, grocery stores, gardening)? Did you try anything new because of the pandemic?

The pandemic has prevented me from going to the mall and eating at the food court. I don’t take the bus anymore so I am limited to eating out at places near my home. I also stopped going to my day program, so I don’t have lunch with my friends anymore. I would like to try new foods but I haven’t been able to. I like gardening. It makes me feel relaxed and happy. This year I will plant peas and tomatoes.

What are some of your favourite restaurants in Richmond? Why are they your favourite?

McDonalds and Subway are my favourite places to go because they are fast and convenient.

Reflecting on 2020, what are some memorable food moments from the pandemic for you? Why was it so memorable?

I really cannot think of any.

What are you looking forward to after the pandemic is over?

I am looking forward to getting back to my usual schedule. I want to take the bus to places like the mall and other stores I like. I miss the carnivals held at the Lansdowne mall parking lot. My artwork is a picture of my favourite carnival foods. I drew a picture of a caramel apple, cotton candy, mini donuts, pizza, ice cream, and cookies. I loved playing the games and winning prizes. I have so much fun when I go there.

Richmond Society for Community Living

This story is part of a collaboration with Richmond Society for Community Living (RSCL), Richmond’s largest non-profit social service organization that provides “exceptional programs and services for infants with special needs, children and adults with developmental disabilities. … RSCL also helps family members access programs and services, ensuring quality of care throughout the lifespan of the individual supported.”

A member of RSCL’s Independent Living program, which supports individuals who have chosen to live in their own communities, shares their experiences with accessing food and building virtual community during the COVID-19 pandemic.