People facing food insecurity in B.C. will benefit from new government funding for community-based programs.
“The pandemic has put added pressure on families and households across B.C. who struggle to access quality, healthy and affordable food,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Poverty Reduction and Social Development. “We know there’s more work to do to address the root causes of food insecurity, but we also know that people need help now. That’s why we are helping get food on the table today while also working toward longer-term solutions.”
Food Banks BC is receiving $6 million, for use over three years, for the Emergency Food Purchasing program to provide nutritious, culturally appropriate food to people experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Funding will be disbursed through food banks and community agencies throughout the province, including rural and remote communities that have few other supports. A further $2.5 million will go to the Perishable Food Recovery program, which will support food banks to build capacity to store and distribute perishable food items under refrigeration.
“Food Banks BC is deeply grateful to the B.C. government for its commitment to fighting hunger and food insecurity in B.C.,” said Dan Huang-Taylor, executive director, Food Banks BC. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further escalated the need to support British Columbians facing financial and food insecurity, with food banks across the province seeing increasing demand throughout this emergency. The funding provided by the B.C. government will enable food banks to purchase, store and distribute more high quality, nutritious food within their communities – something needed now more than ever.”
United Way of Lower Mainland (UWLM) is receiving $1.27 million to support provincewide work that addresses the immediate needs of vulnerable populations and longer-term food security planning. This funding will also help UWLM maintain and expand significant food security partnerships developed during the pandemic. Since March 2020, UWLM has provided almost four million meals and more than 512,000 food hampers through local community partners.
“Food insecurity affects many British Columbians. This was heightened during the pandemic and continues to be on the rise,” said Michael McKnight, president and CEO, UWLM. “We are grateful to the Government of British Columbia for this investment, which allows United Way to continue strengthening vital connections around food justice in our province. The funding will allow us to work with a variety of partners and stakeholders to build a healthier, more equitable food system for all British Columbians.”
Food security is identified as a key issue in TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy.
- Since the release of TogetherBC, government has made several one-time investments to support food security, including:
- a $3-million grant in 2019 to the Victoria Foundation to establish a new $1-million fund for food security initiatives throughout the province and $2 million to help secure the purchase of the Mustard Seed’s Victoria Food Distribution Centre;
- $5 million in 2019 to create the Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program, which supports local governments to develop local strategies and solutions to address poverty, including food security planning;
- $2.7 million in 2021 to create the First Nations Well Being Fund that assists First Nations and Tribal Councils to improve well-being within their communities, including food security; and
- during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost $6 million in gaming grants have gone to food banks and to food security programs delivered by 52 organizations in 32 distinct communities.
TogetherBC, B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy:
To donate or find a food bank, visit: https://www.foodbanksbc.com/
To learn more about the United Way of Lower Mainland, visit: https://www.uwlm.ca/