Hunger is a reality for many, even in relatively resource-rich communities like Delta, but what if we were able to come together to leverage our community resources and redirect them to vulnerable people?
That’s the goal of the Delta Food Coalition (DFC), a network of community groups working together to address local food security issues. The DFC aims to decrease hunger, improve nutritional health and increase local food sustainability by working together in a collaborative community-based process and through action-oriented community programs.
According to a release from Delta’s Earthwise Society, lead agency for the DFC, the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the food security issues faced by people everywhere, including here in Delta. To address the issue locally, DFC is leveraging community resources and working with member agencies to provide emergency relief to those who have been impacted. DFC functions as a food hub, sourcing fresh, local food and distributing it to people in need, while connecting individuals and families in need with the appropriate community food programs.
“We have built so many new connections between Delta social organizations that will undoubtedly continue to help us ensure food security in Delta long after COVID-19,” Aubrey Bird, program coordinator at Earthwise Society, said in a press release.
Thanks to support from White Spot and United Way of the Lower Mainland, DFC has distributed White Spot gift cards and 75 hot meals to individuals and families in need through Boys & Girls Clubs of South Coast BC and Options Community Services via its Delta Clubhouse. DFC has also worked with Mario’s Kitchen in Tsawwassen, who have generously donated daily meals to those in need.
As well, DFC has helped provide vital personal protective equipment to various food banks and programs within Delta to help facilitate the safe distribution of food.
“Delta Food Coalition and Delta Earthwise Society are providing critical services in making sure people who have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis have access to food. United Way of the Lower Mainland is pleased to support this Local Love Food Hub and distribute food to those who need it most,” Kim Winchell, senior director of strategy and operations at United Way of the Lower Mainland, said in a press release.
In addition to facilitating emergency food relief, DFC’s programs also work to strengthen and build a more resilient food system. “Don’t Mow, Grow” victory gardens are a DFC initiative which engages local residents to grow food at home, with assistance from Earthwise Society, and share produce with those in need through a weekly harvest box program. The program helps to develop a regenerative community food system that brings people together and supports the needs of residents both now and in the future.
West Coast Seeds has generously donated thousands of seedlings which have been disbursed to Earthwise Society’s victory gardens, as well as community gardens and various food networks within Delta and the Lower Mainland. Many of these seedlings have been provided to seniors at seniors homes — along with staff support on planting basics — as part of an initiative to encourage seniors to grow their own healthy, organic vegetables.
DFC is currently on the lookout for cold storage space for their box program this summer, along with volunteer drivers to help distribute donations.
Anyone curious about getting involved with any of the DFC’s initiatives can contact the Earthwise Society at 604-946-9828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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