Here. For fuller plates and hearts.
With more than 18% of Canadians struggling with food security, it’s likely that you or someone you know needs help feeding themselves or their families.
Combine BC’s notoriously high cost of living with the rising rates of inflation and it’s no surprise that people are going without the nourishment they need and deserve.
Community Food Hubs provide more than food
Food security is about more than hunger. Physical and mental health is affected, as well as the ability to maintain personal relationships. For families with children, the need increases to approximately 1-in-5 Canadians struggling with food security. No child, adult or senior should go without the food they need to sustain themselves. Ensuring our neighbours have access to nourishing, healthy, and culturally appropriate food is vital to the health and well-being of our communities.
Be here. For fuller plates and hearts.
Support individuals and families who need that little extra help to put food on the table.
A Regional Community Food Hub is a low-barrier place where people can access food and a range of essential social services, all in one spot. It’s United Way BC’s innovative and local response to food security. This model not only increases food accessibility, but also provides food literacy programming and wellness activities, and other wrap-around services such as mental health support, employment services, childcare, and more.
United Way BC currently operates 21 Regional Community Food Hubs across the province and partners with more than 120 community agencies, providing dignified food access to over 81,500 people each year. Ensuring our neighbours have access to nourishing, healthy, and culturally appropriate food is vital to the health and well-being of our communities. With your generous help, we can expand Community Food Hubs to 4 additional BC neighbourhoods in the next year.
Local issues require local solutions. United Way BC works with partners and organizations to identify food insecurities in small towns; rural, remote, and Indigenous communities; as well as city neighborhoods. Your donation will provide healthy and nutritious food to the people – in your local community – who need it most.
Be Here. For fuller plates and hearts. Donate today. For tomorrow.
Strengthening a sustainable food security system requires everyone working together.
Learn how a local approach works in different regions of BC.
Remote areas struggle with food options
Food security and food sustainability mean different things to different people. For Christina, it means providing food consistently for her family. She and her husband moved with their two boys and pets to Gold River from Nanaimo in search of affordable rent. But it’s a difficult compromise when finding an affordable place to live means less accessibility to essentials, like food. “Basically, most of the necessities are here,” Christina says. “The prices are a bit more compared to out-of-town, and usually, it’s the smaller stuff, like not a full-size bag of potatoes. The bigger stuff you want for families isn’t here.”
Tucked in the forest on northern Vancouver Island, the residents of Gold River have faced many challenges when it comes to food supply. The primary grocery store shut down a few years ago and the smaller grocery store that opened last year is also recently closed.
Those with reliable cars can drive an hour and a half to Campbell River, the closest major centre, but in the winter that drive becomes treacherous. Many rely on the remaining local deli and others are dependent on a delivery service that takes the trip to Campbell River on the residents’ behalf. Increasingly though, more individuals and families are relying on the Gold River Food Network.
Volunteers key to successful program
Nestled between the Cariboo and Monashee Mountains and home to almost 2,700 residents, Clearwater is an outdoor paradise. But with only one grocery store, few high-paying jobs, and Kamloops, the nearest city 90 minutes away, it is also a place where people can struggle to get the healthy food, they need year-round. “Country prices,” inflation, declining local food production, winter roads and more make food insecurity an issue here. Like many more rural and remote communities across BC, families with low incomes, seniors, and Indigenous peoples are especially impacted.
Through Regional Community Food Hubs, United Way coordinates efforts between local nonprofits, such as organizations serving marginalized and underserved groups, school districts, faith-based organizations, food suppliers, and food recovery groups who deliver rescued food to local hubs. Programming includes food hampers and meal distribution, community gardens, food literacy and skill building, as well as funding for staff and infrastructure development.
In Clearwater, the involvement of volunteers is key to the success of many food security programs. Hiring a Food Security Coordinator allowed for volunteer coordination and growth of the program to better meet area food needs.
Food Hubs offer wrap-around services
Gary spent his life helping others. He never thought he’d be the one needing help one day.
His mother instilled the values of volunteering and giving back to those in need when he was a child by organizing monthly sandwich days and delivering them to folks in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
“We were taught to honour the commonalities in people and accept the differences, to do our best to treat everyone the same, and to help out from time to time in the community,” Gary says.
But after a mini-stroke and unexpected fall, 60-year-old Gary found himself relying on a walker, unable to work, and now needing the help that he had provided to so many others over the years. For Gary, receiving nutritious food was a crucial part of his road back to a good place physically, mentally, and emotionally, so he sought out a United Way Community Food Hub, which includes wrap-around services where community members have access to food, food literacy, and wellness programming such as mental health support, employment services, childcare, and more.
After sharing his story of being out of work with one of the community agencies at the hub, Gary was assigned a familiar volunteer task: distributing food within his community. As Gary’s health improved, they helped him secure a paid job as a Community Liaison Officer. Now he leads harm reduction and advanced overdose training for community groups.
Your gift means fuller plates.
Help provide nutritious, culturally appropriate food to those who need it most.