United Way Supports Healthy Food For Local People
Everyone needs to eat.
It’s a simple truth, and yet we’ve tied that need to income – if you don’t have enough money, you might not get enough to eat.
And when that happens, it sends a message, says Craig Evans.
“We usually eat food with our families and friends. If there are people in our community who don’t have adequate food, we’ve pretty well shunned them. They’re no longer in our community, they’re no longer in our families.”
Evans is a farm manager for a United Way-funded central-island-area food program that creates boxes of locally sourced vegetables, fruits and other foods. The boxes are sold at full price to those who can afford it, sold at a reduced price for those struggling with finances, and provided for free to those in need.
The program is able to help people in a range of circumstances, from giving people a little more wiggle room in their budgets, to making local, healthy food available to those who can’t afford it.
For Jennifer, the food box helps to reduce her already tight expenses.
"I’m a small business owner, so I do make an OK amount of money, but sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch,” she says. “Being a single parent can make buying food and paying all my expenses a little bit more difficult.”
When she first heard about the program, Jennifer didn’t think she would be eligible but has since found the food box very helpful in reducing expenses, providing a healthy and locally sourced option for her and her two boys, and appreciates that the box is delivered to her door.
“I was terrified of going to the grocery store,” she says of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a local farm, Evans and his colleagues managed to triple the amount of farmable space in preparation for increased needs during the pandemic. Also, as more people were unable to keep working due to the pandemic, more and more people reached out to the program to help with the farming.
In addition, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island was able to support this program by directing federal funding from the Emergency Community Support Fund so that access to the food box could be increased and more people could access this services in their time of increased need.
“I really appreciate the work that United Way does in helping redistribute funds from people who feel they can donate to people who are in need of donations,” says Evans.
Evans and the agency providing the food box program are working towards providing more people with access to healthy, local food. But, in the meantime, the food box program makes sure that Jennifer and her two boys remain a cared-for part of our community.
When you give to United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, you support important local programs like this one in your community. If you can, please consider donating today.
If you are in need of food supports and live in the Nanaimo area, go to nanaimofoodshare.ca/campaign/good-food-box/