DIVERSEcity’s Leo Ramirez (foreground) sorts food hampers with the help of volunteers and partners pictured behind him. (submitted photo)

DIVERSEcity’s Leo Ramirez (foreground) sorts food hampers with the help of volunteers and partners pictured behind him. (submitted photo)

Food hamper group effort helps feed Surrey newcomers

‘It’s been really valuable learning about how to build good partnerships in food access’

Food hampers are being assembled for Surrey families in need, thanks to a co-ordinated effort among several partner organizations in the city.

DIVERSEcity’s Newcomer Food Hamper program was recently given a $35,000 boost from the United Way’s Local Love Food Hub funding, and works in partnership with a nutrition coupon program for produce from Surrey Urban Farmers Market. The fresh produce is then organized into hampers, along with additional food supplied from Sources Food Hub.

The hampers are put together by DIVERSEcity staff and volunteers in partnership with Seeds of Change, at a City of Surrey-operated parkade in the City Centre area.

Staff and volunteers came together on Aug. 8, to sort, fill and distribute hampers. Serious co-ordination was needed to ensure each hamper was filled correctly, including abiding by any food restrictions the clients may have, according to Leo Ramirez, DIVERSEcity’s Community Kitchen Co-ordinator.

“I love that this is a group effort supporting the community,” Ramirez says. “We are thankful to the many organizations, volunteers and staff that come together to make this work.”

(Story continues below)

Food insecurity remains a significant concern during COVID-19, according to program operators.

“This food hub ensures that these families continue to get the fresh produce and food that they need every week,” said Anna Hall, manager of Surrey Urban Farmers Market.

While most food hampers are delivered to families directly, some clients stopped to pick theirs up personally on Aug. 8.

The food hamper program launched July 25 with a plan to run for 10 to 12 weeks. As of mid-August, close to 50 hampers had been sorted and distributed to low-income families, seniors and pregnant women in Surrey.

For details, visit dcrs.ca or call DIVERSEcity at 604-597-0205.

“It’s been really valuable learning about how to build good partnerships in food access and food security work,” says Fiona Stevenson, manager of Volunteer & Community Programs, DIVERSEcity. “By partnering with Seeds of Change, we have access to the temporary site in the City Centre parkade each week, and we are also able to get additional items of recovered food from Sources Food Hub to add to all the hampers. This support through the City of Surrey and Seeds of Change and Surrey Urban Farmers Market has been instrumental to venue, logistics, food access, permissions, staffing and more.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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