Food insecurity contributes to poor health and various long-term issues for both children and adults; thousands of British Columbians do not have adequate or regular access to healthy nourishment. Single-parent families, First Nations individuals and new Canadians experience disproportionately higher levels of chronic hunger. The sustainable nourishment program fills the gaps in available food security support for our most marginalized community members. We manage a ½ acre piece of farmland in our efforts to support and promote food security for low-income mothers and families in our community. We also host 95 laying hens to provide a fresh healthy source of protein to families, who can be part of growing their own food security by working the farm as a volunteer when possible. Our hens produce an average of 4-5 eggs per week each for a total of approximately 20,800 eggs per year along with 38,000 lbs of fresh food for the nourishment hampers. Volunteering on the farm is not a requirement for accessing fresh food hampers but many enjoy being part of the solution to their food insecurity. Clients can register easily through our website or by emailing our farm manager [email protected] Fresh food hampers are currently available for no contact pickup or delivery. Program outline: Beyond the nourishment provided by the Mamas farm garden and laying hens, we provide materials for families to plant their own backyard gardens and if bylaw permits, to provide them with laying hens for their homes as well. This will not only provide the families with a wide variety of freshly grown produce and protein but will also teach them how to create and grow nourishment for themselves. Beyond this community-engaged food security initiative, we provide non-perishable food hampers and have a baby market for families who need help with diapers, wipes and formula. In 2019 we provided 3200 hampers to mamas and their families, in 2020 we provided 3212 nourishment hampers (mostly by no contact delivery)
The At-Risk Comprehensive program has been in operation since September 2016. We experienced exponential growth annually and in 2019 supported over 6000 families with 4682 of these mamas participating in the At-Risk Comprehensive program. In 2020 we have supported 7605 at risk caregivers through direct and COVID-19 safe no-contact support means. Participants may be referred by Interior Health, Elizabeth Fry Society, The Women’s Shelter, the Ministry of Child and Family Development, School District 23, or partnered non-profit organizations. Clients can also self refer. This program provides access to a registered social worker for resource navigation and access to the free Karma market for all items required. In house referrals are provided for those with greater needs and other community-based programs and supports are accessed as appropriate. Appointments can be made after hours for individuals or families who are not able to attend during regular working hours or a no contact hamper delivery can be arranged. The scope of this program continues to expand based on the increased complexity of the mamas and families that are presenting to us. We have added a fill the gap dental program to the at-risk services, supporting families with financial support to relieve dental pain and infection, a court support program to help mamas involved with the justice system or MCFD, as well as a fill the gap hearing program to support families experiencing poverty as a result of meeting the financial burden of their child’s audiology needs.
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