United Way of the Lower Mainland launches urgent appeal to raise $1M to support skyrocketing need for food during COVID-19
Vancouver, B.C. COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on hunger in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. United Way of the Lower Mainland reports 98% of their non-profit community partners have seen an increased demand for food and 92% have identified food security as a top issue. And 72% of these agencies cannot meet current needs.
United Way is mobilizing a network of community partners, businesses and local residents to ensure that everyone has access to the food they need through 17 Local Love Food Hubs in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. The organization has plans to expand the program to 50 neighbourhoods in the next month and is anticipating future needs for up to one year. To fund this expansion, United Way of the Lower Mainland is launching an immediate and urgent appeal to raise $1 million.
“Local Love Food Hubs provide groceries, food hampers, prepared meals, and supermarket gift cards for anyone who is facing a lack of food,” said Kim Winchell, Director of Social Impact at United Way of the Lower Mainland. “The global pandemic has created a huge increase in people seeking support for themselves and their families and we’re working hard to develop solutions to address this sweeping need.”
Non-profits, schools and faith-based organizations are stepping in to host Food Hubs and distribute food. Community members who would like to access services can contact the Food Hub to either arrange visiting one of the current locations or to receive a delivery if they are isolating or have mobility issues. All United Way of the Lower Mainland COVID-19 response services are no cost, or by donation if it can be afforded.
Archway Community Services is one of the United Way’s partners operating as a Food Hub now. “Since COVID-19, we’re distributing 20 per cent more food hampers than normal,” said Rod Santiago, Executive Director, Archway Community Services. “We’re seeing the greatest new needs among families with school-aged children.”
“Being a Local Love Food Hub enables us to provide, among other things like prepared meals and grocery produce, the proteins and grains that are expensive and badly needed during this time,” said Jennifer Gray-Grant, Executive Director at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, a Local Love Food Hub. “As much as the food itself helps, having the people that use our services know that someone cares about them, and whether they have enough nutritious food to eat, means so much to them. It makes a huge difference.”
Funding for the current 17 Local Love Food Hubs has been made possible through generous donations to the Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund.