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New funding helps more people in need have access to healthy food

May 18, 2023 at 10:56 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

A new Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank warehouse will help people get access to fresh, nutritious food, and boost food recovery and delivery services across Vancouver Island.

“We all want people to have the support they need to get by, and our funding will help people get nutritious food,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “More people will get good nutritious food on more Vancouver Island tables when Loaves and Fishes expands food redistribution with our funding.”

Supported by a $7-million contribution by the Province toward the cost of building the warehouse, and a 30-year lease for the land from the City of Nanaimo for $10, the new warehouse will expand Loaves and Fishes’ food collection and distribution capacity. Distribution will run from Ladysmith to Port Alberni to Comox and up to Port Hardy. The expanded services and infrastructure will provide reliable access to food, while dramatically reducing food waste in the region.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have expanded our services to more communities in need across Vancouver Island. And there is a lot of food out there, in fact, more than enough to feed everyone,” said Peter Sinclair, executive director, Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. “With this investment from government, we will be able to scale up our current operation to serve more people on the Island and help reduce food insecurity in our communities and make sure that food gets to the people who need it most.”

The new 2,300 square-metre (25,000 square feet) warehouse will contain food recovery and distribution operations to rural and Indigenous communities throughout Vancouver Island. It will also include a reception area and offices, as well as a storage area for food, a pickup location, and a sorting area for their recycling program Empties 4 Food, which uses proceeds to provide healthy and nutritious food for people in Nanaimo.

“The support Loaves and Fishes have given me has really resulted in an explosion of abundance in my life combined with my own gratitude my outlook is so positive now,” said Tim Cassidy, beneficiary of Loaves and Fishes food distribution program. “I just don’t know where I would be without everyone’s support. This is so much more than a food bank.”

Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank started food collection in 2012 and has continued to grow every year. The collected food is sorted by staff and a team of over 200 volunteers per month. Food unfit for people is directed to farmers for livestock and compost.

“People talk about food shortage issues in the world, but we don’t have that, we have a food wastage issue,” said Deborah Murray, A-Frame Church in Port McNeill. “Without Loaves and Fishes, this food would have probably gone to the dump.”

Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank is a local non-profit organization headquartered in Nanaimo. It was selected by Food Banks BC to become the national food sharing distribution hub for Vancouver Island.

Learn More:

To learn about TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/poverty-reduction-strategy

To read about government’s food security announcement, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023AF0016-000277

To read about government’s support of the Cloverdale Community Kitchen in Surrey, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023SDPR0023-000560

To learn about Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, visit: https://www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org/

To learn about Loaves and Fishes’ Empties 4 Food program, visit: https://www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org/get-involved/empties-4-food/

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