Victoria food program expanded to Sooke and beyond

Community food box program benefits low-income families

A Victoria neighbourhood group is expanding its food program with the goal of helping 100 low-income families in Greater Victoria over the next year.

The Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group has launched the fifth annual Gift of Good Food fundraiser with hopes of raising more than $50,000, more than double last year’s goal.

Local businesses, organizations and teams are encouraged to raise money that will go towards supplying low-income families, single parents, or families who need support with Good Food boxes. The boxes contain roughly 11 pounds of fresh local fruit and produce, and are picked up or delivered every two weeks.

Last year, 11 fundraising groups helped 24 Fernwood families after raising $11,000.

Kathryn Juricic, a fundraising coordinator with the program, said the food boxes help families year- round and supplement healthy, nutritious food into their diets. Families pick up the boxes with other customers as well.

“In doing that, it reduces the stigma of people basically taking charity,” she said. “It relieves some of that feeling. No one wants to show that they need that or admit it and so, that’s why it’s so important for us to partner with these community centres because the families are chosen through relationships and confidential conversations.”

This year, the neighbourhood group is expanding the program to include 10 community centres such as  Beacon Community Services, Burnside Gorge, Island Health, James Bay Community Project, Oaklands Community Association, Quadra Village Community Centre, Saanich Neighbourhood Place and Sooke Family Resource Society.

The community centres are responsible for selecting local families to receive the boxes, spreading awareness and acting as a drop off point for donations.

“I hope it will increase the number of folks that have access to healthy food year-round,” said Kelly Greenwell, executive director of the Quadra Village Community Association.

“I think one of the big things is there’s a lot of families from all kinds of situations, and it’s sometimes hard for them to get into food banks or any situation where they have to line up and hopefully they can potentially benefit from this.”

For more information or to donate visit thegoodfoodbox.ca/donate.