DIVERSEcity Newcomer Food Hamper program in Surrey launches with support from partner organizations
Food insecurity remains a significant concern during COVID-19. DIVERSEcity’s Newcomer Food Hamper program, generously supported by several partner organizations in Surrey, is trying to help by distributing food hampers to low-income families in Surrey.
With $35,000 from the United Way’s Local Love Food Hub funding, DIVERSEcity’s Newcomer Food Hub is working in partnership with the Surrey Urban Farmers Market ordering produce from the market, paid for through the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Coupon Program). The fresh produce is then organized into hampers, along with additional food supplied from Sources Food Hub.
The hampers are then put together by DIVERSEcity staff and volunteers in partnership with Seeds of Change, working (physically distanced!) from their City of Surrey-sponsored location, the City Centre parkade. (Seeds of Change is supporting several food hubs across Surrey through United Way funding.)
Staff and volunteers came together Saturday, August 8, to sort, fill and distribute hampers. The group was happy but dedicated in their efforts, as they worked hard all morning, despite the rainy weather. Serious co-ordination was needed to ensure each hamper was filled correctly, including abiding by any food restrictions the clients may have.
Leo Ramirez, DIVERSEcity’s Community Kitchen Coordinator, who is organizing DIVERSEcity’s efforts, says, “I love that this is a group effort supporting the community. We are thankful to the many organizations, volunteers and staff that come together to make this work.”
One of those on the front lines was Surrey Urban Farmers Market market manager Anna Hall, who was also grateful to all the partners working together for this important initiative. She explained, “This food hub ensures that these families continue to get the fresh produce and food that they need every week.”
While most food hampers are delivered to families directly, some clients did stop by on Saturday to pick theirs up personally. Their smiling faces and gratitude were just another reminder of how important the team’s efforts were. The food hamper program launched July 25 and will continue to run for 10 to 12 weeks; about 50 hampers have already been sorted and distributed to low-income families, seniors and pregnant women.
“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.” For more information, see www.dcrs.ca or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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