An international non-profit group has partnered with two Chilliwack organizations to help put free food on the table for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Way Lower Mainland (UWLM), which serves the Fraser Valley, has joined forces with Chilliwack Community Services and Chilliwack Salvation Army where they will be setting up a “Local Love Food Hub” to help with the recent growing demand for food.
“They are working together. They will receive funding this week and be up and running right away,” said Kim Winchell with UWLM about the Chilliwack food hub.
“Local Love Food Hubs provide groceries, food hampers, prepared meals, and supermarket gift cards for anyone who is facing a lack of food,” she said. “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.”
They are partnering with non-profits, schools, faith-based organizations and local residents so that everyone has access to the food they need right in their neighbourhood.
The new program was launched two weeks ago and there are currently about 20 of them in place in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, but more are needed.
“Fifty Local Love Food Hubs must be in place in neighbourhoods across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley by the end of May. Currently, we have about 20. It is not enough,” the website reads.
UWLM reports 98 per cent of its non-profit community partners have seen an increased demand for food and 92 per cent have identified food security as a top issue. And 72 per cent of these agencies cannot meet current needs. It is anticipating future needs for up to one year.
To fund this expansion, UWLM is launching an immediate and urgent appeal to raise $1 million.
People are being notified of the food hubs by their local non-profit organizations, school districts, bc211.ca (or dialling 211), and by UWLM postcards that are being delivered to people’s doorsteps.
Community members who would like to access services can contact the Food Hub (list and contact info is at uwlm.ca/food-hub-locations) to either arrange visiting one of the current locations or to receive a delivery if they are isolating or have mobility issues. All UWLM COVID-19 response services are no cost, or by donation if it can be afforded.
Those wanting to donate can do so at uwlm.ca/action where $25 buys one grocery voucher, $50 buys 10 nutritious meals or $100 buys five weekly grocery hampers.
United Way is also one of the partners helping feed Chilliwack school children as part of a new food hamper program put in place a month ago.