Impact Stories

Community Champion Celebrated for Making Food Security Impact Work Possible

To commemorate BC Non-Profit Day (October 30th), United Way British Columbia Spotlights a Community Champion and Sheds Light on Our Vital Work in Enhancing Food Security Across BC Communities

Celebrating the Community Champions 

Millions of British Columbians seek them out and depend on their support, relying on their dedication to make a difference. These Community Champions are the unsung heroes of the non-profit and charitable sector who guide people through some of life’s toughest challenges with compassion and empathy.  

Alžběta Sabová, Director of Food Security, Community Impact and Investment at United Way British Columbia, is one such champion.  We are recognizing, celebrating and appreciating the hard work and commitment of Alžběta and all non-profit employees and volunteers to mark BC Non-Profit Day on October 30th!

British Columbia joins the ranks of Nova Scotia and Ontario, becoming the third Canadian province to proclaim a Day of Recognition for the Non-Profit Sector. This achievement signifies the growing recognition of the vital work carried out by non-profit organizations.

Alžběta’s Journey 

With a profound passion for people’s well-being, Alžběta Sabová’s journey began in a small Czech Republic town. She studied sociology and communications, but a desire for adventure led her to Canada in 2014. 

Pictured is Alžběta Sabová, Director of Food Security,
Community Impact and Investment at United Way British Columbia

“I wanted to understand the social fabric of our world, to explore the myriad of ways people coexist, collaborate, and shape the world we live in,” she reflects on her early curiosity. 

Her path led her to study holistic nutrition in BC. It was here that she found her calling to merge her knowledge around health and wellbeing with her commitment to food security and social purpose. 

“I realized that for many, access to nourishing food is sadly not a choice,” she says. 

Alžběta had been coordinating food security programs for other organizations when the pandemic struck, forcing her to pivot. When an opportunity arose at United Way British Columbia, it was the only job she applied for. 

Alžběta’s education and experience uniquely prepared her to lead the food security work at United Way BC. She’s the central brain of a team of 12 passionate staff with the organization’s food security team working daily in communities to understand the gaps, challenges and opportunities around food access.  

Need is growing

Food insecurity affects a wide range of individuals, including seniors, low-income families, single parents, newcomers, refugees, University students, and Indigenous people on and off reserve. In 2022, almost 17% of British Columbians lived in a food-insecure household, with children under 18 experiencing an even higher rate of almost 22%. 

“We certainly see the rise of food insecurity in communities, while our support to communities has grown and expanded exponentially over the past few years, the need has risen as well, and that is very concerning.” Alžběta says.  

“We continue to see the numbers of people being food insecure rising.” 

United Way British Columbia, through strong partnerships with the government and community-based non-profits, plays a pivotal role in addressing food security.

Increasing access through Food Hubs  

Food security is a top priority for United Way British Columbia, ensuring that BC families, seniors, and those in need have access to enough nutritious food. The Regional Community Food Hubs, a United Way initiative, brings local non-profits, schools, faith-based groups, food suppliers, and food rescue organizations together to provide all British Columbians with safe and culturally preferable food. 

Alžběta emphasizes that the food hub model serves as the foundation for communities to develop strong partnerships and build the capacity needed to run programs, connect with one another, communicate, collaborate, and create efficiencies. Today, there are 21 regional community food hubs across the province. 

In the 2022/23 period, United Way BC delivered over 3.1 million meals, 215,000 food hampers, and conducted nearly 1,500 food security education and workshops, reaching more than 81,500 individuals and families. 

Closing the Gap with the Food Link App 

Recognizing a logistics gap in food distribution and a need for effective communication within the charitable sector, our organization launched the Food Link by United Way BC app in 2023.

This innovative app connects non-profit partners, their clients, local food organizations, and suppliers while mobilizing volunteers to transport food efficiently and cost-effectively between locations. 

“This app fills the gaps and strengthens the connections needed to distribute food more effectively,” Alžběta explains.

The tool is essential in addressing food inaccessibility and food insecurity, which has risen due to BC’s affordability crisis, inflation, and housing issues. 

Strengthening the Sector 

United Way British Columbia is not only expanding food hubs but also working to strengthen the food security sector in BC. Alžběta notes the sector’s growth in recent years and the emergence of roles focused on food security and access. 

“United Way BC has expanded into a position where we have a better understanding of what is happening across the entire province. There’s not that many organizations that have such a span of their work while firmly embedded locally in communities,” Alžběta says.  

“Through our work we have the responsibility, we have the commitment, and we also have the obligation to all the communities, all the people that are needing support in terms of food access.” 

United Way British Columbia has developed the Critical Food Infrastructure Grant (CFIG) to support the development and implementation of community-led food infrastructure projects to enhance food security locally across the province.  
Our organization is also expanding Regional Community Food Hubs to rural, Northern and Indigenous communities over the next five years. 

“Passion and Purpose” 

Alžběta encourages those interested in social purpose careers to consider volunteer or employment opportunities with United Way BC and other non-profits.

She acknowledges the challenges but emphasizes the fulfillment of making a substantial difference in the lives of vulnerable people daily. 

“This kind of work really attracts incredible people, people that are passionate and really driven by the purpose and have very aligned values,” she says.  

Recognizing BC Non-Profit Day 

Alžběta’s story is part of a province-wide campaign to celebrate the non-profit sector in BC following the proclamation of BC Non-Profit Day/Non-Profit Recognition Day (October 30th). 

The non-profit sector in BC comprises nearly 335,000 dedicated workers with 87,000 employed in the community non-profit sector. A substantial portion of this workforce consists of women who are passionately devoted to serving, connecting, and supporting all British Columbians.

Non-profit organizations are vital to advancing economic and social development, delivering essential programs, creating employment opportunities, and fostering social bonds.

BC’s non-profits contribute an estimated $28 billion to the provincial economy. They are incredibly diverse, offering a wide array of services, from support for seniors, childcare, and youth programs to arts, sports, food security, housing, health, emergency response, environmental initiatives, advocacy, and Indigenous supports. They also champion Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) initiatives.

BC’s non-profit sector’s inherent strength lies in its grassroots proximity and responsiveness to community needs. This unique position empowers them to inform government policies, programs, and funding decisions, making them influential advocates for positive change in our communities. Learn more at

Acknowledging the Bhayana Family Foundation 

United Way British Columbia extends gratitude to the Bhayana Family Foundation for advocating for non-profits and their employees at both provincial and federal levels. This foundation has partnered with United Way BC and others to close the recognition gap for charitable and non-profit sector employees.

The declaration of BC Non-Profit Day in British Columbia is a significant step forward in recognizing the essential work of the non-profit sector.