About Us

History of Our Organization: 

Nanaimo Community Kitchens Society is a volunteer-driven community agency that has been supporting the citizens of Nanaimo since 1991. The organization was founded by Jeri Manley, who was working as Nanaimo's Community Nutritionist at the time. Concerning rates of poverty and food insecurity in the area prompted Manley to explore the concept of community cooking groups called Collective Kitchens, which had been successful in Montreal.

Inspired by the idea, Manley invited nutritionist Diane Norman to Nanaimo to discuss the implementation of similar programs. The response from local social service agencies was positive, leading to the formation of the Nanaimo Community Kitchens Society as a charitable organization in 1991. The first two Community Kitchens programs were launched at the basement kitchen of the Salvation Army and Brechin United Church.

NCK quickly gained popularity, and they published a cookbook titled "100 Meals for Under a Loonie Per Serving," which featured tested, nutritious recipes. The cookbook gained recognition and was featured in Chatelaine magazine in November 1996. Over 2500 copies were sold across Canada.

Community Kitchens provided a space for socializing, networking, and learning about other community supports. For many participants, including new parents, adults with disabilities, and newcomers to Canada, the connections formed in these programs were as nourishing as the food they cooked together. Cooking became a way to bring people together and build friendships.

We at Nanaimo Community Kitchens express our gratitude for the support we receive from the community. We look forward to partnering with others to contribute to the mission of promoting healthy, nutritious, and affordable meals while fostering friendships and self-esteem.


The NCK Team

Staff Members:
Heidi Sinclair
Executive Director
Jennifer Leslie 
Program Coordinator for Bellies to Babies 
Anne Nguyen
Program Coordinator for Ethnic Vegan 
Mark Riser 
Program Coordinator for Nourishing Ourselves     
Liz Taylor                                                                                            Bookkeeper
Board Members:
Chris Crabtree
Debby Thomson 
Vic President
Kathy Torhjelm
Linda Harold
Corresponding Secretary
Joanne Swain
Recording Secretary
Eileen Bennewith
Member at Large
Henryka Szado
Member at Large 
Alice Gove
Member at Large