United Way is Here. For Fuller Plates and Hearts.
1 in 7 Canadians face food shortage. Rising costs of food, gas, and accommodations, along with supply chain and shutdowns have led many British Columbians to turn to local organizations for basic food supplies. Almost 12% of rural BC households struggle to get healthy food, and the number is higher for Indigenous communities and those far from urban centres. For some, getting nutritious food means traveling long distances, and gaps in care systems leave many falling through the cracks.
United Way’s Regional Community Food Hubs provide an innovative approach to food security. These hubs address specific regional needs in various communities, including small towns, rural, remote, and Indigenous areas, and city neighborhoods facing food insecurities. They offer accessibility to food, food literacy programs, wellness activities, and other wrap-around services such as mental health support, employment services, childcare, and more. The North Okanagan region’s Land to Table Network serves as a steward for United Way’s Regional Community Food Hub, working in collaboration with project partners to increase access to fresh, nutritious, local food for those who need it most.
Food security across the regions
Creating food security in communities is evolving due to shutdowns, unprecedented weather events and the highest inflation seen in 30 years. 57 percent of Canadians find it difficult to feed their households, up from 36 percent in 2019. Thanks to donors, United Way’s 18 Regional Community Food Hubs and 7 Food Recovery Organizations provided 2.5 million meals last year. United Way Community Food Hubs aim to provide year-round food security to strengthen connections in the community. Here. For Fuller Plates and Hearts.
Community Foundation North Okanagan (CFNO) Supports Fill the Gap – Food Program
“We fund the Fill the Gap – Food Program, which is delivered through the Good Food Box Society. They source fresh in-season foods from local farmers and food producers and assemble and deliver the fresh food boxes with a team of dedicated community volunteers.” says Leanne Hammond, executive director of Community Foundation North Okanagan.
The Good Food Box
The need for this program arose during the pandemic when individuals that had never accessed the services of a charity or food bank started to need a financial boost. Through our close relationships with the Archway Society for Domestic Peace, School District 22, Nexus Community Resource Centre, along with 20+ other local service organizations, CFNO was made aware that many of their clients were falling through the “cracks” and not eligible for food programs or had a barrier to accessing a food bank.
“The goal of the Good Food Box program is to help all families and individuals access healthy produce including those families that would not have been able to afford healthy produce due to financial issues,” said Donna Antonishak with the Good Food Box program. “Recently, many factors have affected food costs jumping over 10-15 percent, including inflation, rising gas prices, higher production costs, up and above the reduced ability to earn wages for many families during the pandemic. Some have had to choose to eat less to pay for heat or rent and to miss out on higher-cost foods including produce.”
CFNO wants to continue offering the Fill the Gap -Food Program to low-income community members and we need your support to keep this program running.