The recent one in 100 year BC storm and impacts of the ongoing pandemic continue to challenge community food banks and local businesses.
As we approach the holiday season and the depths of winter, a time that is already difficult for many across the province, local charities and businesses need our support more than ever. With the launch of a 12-day online fundraising initiative called Love Local BC, BCLC is giving us an easy way to show we care.
From November 29 to December 10, BC residents can double their impact by shopping on the Love Local BC page. BCLC purchased a number of gift cards and items from local businesses that are listed on the page. That way, when you purchase a gift card or successfully bid on a silent auction item on the platform, the value of your purchase will go towards one of the 11 partner food bank organizations.
Before you start buying gifts for those on your list, let’s take a look at the charities you’ll be supporting.
Over 8,500 individuals and 113 Community Agency Partners (CAPs) receive food support from the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) every month — across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and the North Shore. The GVFB reaches a broad spectrum of people in need through its CAPs, from housing agencies to women’s shelters and after-school programs, which provide hot meals to thousands of people each week.
Nurturing families and cultivating communities by providing supplemental food assistance and other supportive programs is the Archway Food Bank’s mission. Each month, the food bank provides support to 3,000 people, 40% of whom are children. It operates on donated food, money, supplies, and services to offer this support, and provides guests with monthly supplemental food hampers in addition to holiday hampers and toys for children and youth.
Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows communities, the Friends in Need Food Bank provides food to its registered clients and works with community organizations and charities dealing with food insecurity. It operates a weekly School Meal and Snack Program, servicing 23 elementary and secondary schools and six alternative education programs. Meanwhile, its Perishable Food Recovery Program collects food from local grocers and diverts it from landfills to individuals in need; it has repurposed over two million pounds of food in two years.
In addition to providing food support, Sources Food Bank Langley also provides critical supplies like formula and diapers for families with infants and children. Over the holiday season, it strives to provide extra food items to community members so that everyone can enjoy delicious holiday meals. Sources Food Bank Langley also supports school lunch and breakfast programs, offers a mobile service for those who qualify, and distributes special hampers to those living on the street.
As the provincial member association of food banks in BC and a proud member of Food Banks Canada, Food Banks BC’s vision is of a hunger-free future. It assists its 102 member food banks with resources that support growth and sustainability; this is achieved through distributing food and financial donations, providing access to training programs, and acting as a representative for BC’s food banks and their communities. Every month, over 80,000 individuals are assisted by its food banks in BC.
The Kamloops Food Bank serves nearly 6,000 individuals, over 40 agencies and schools, and nine smaller, regional food banks. By participating in Love Local BC, you can help support important programs like Starfish Backpacks and the Baby Bank. Support will also benefit the foodSHARE food recovery program, which redirects healthy organic products from landfills into the homes of those facing food insecurity.
Every year, the Central Okanagan Food Bank provides nutritional food support to 54,000 individuals — 34% of whom are children and youth, and 20% are seniors living on a fixed income. When you support BCLC’s Love Local BC initiative, you will help make it possible for local families to bridge the gap between limited income and putting dinner on the table. The Central Okanagan Food Bank says this is one of the most significant, lasting contributions you can make to the cause of fighting hunger in our community.
The Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank provides — on average — 239,000 pounds of quality food to individuals and more than 100 community partners, which includes other non-profits, schools, and Indigenous communities. Thanks to community partners, with every $1 the Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank receives, it can purchase and give over $5 worth of food to those who might otherwise go hungry, making a real difference in the community.
The Campbell River Food Bank has provided food to those in need for over 35 years. The food bank serves approximately 2,000 people a month — 35% of whom are under 18. The majority of its financial and in-kind donations come from individuals and businesses within Campbell River, and its small staff is bolstered by a team of volunteers who help maintain programs. Your support allows the Campbell River Food Bank to keep filling emptying shelves and share more with those who need it.
The Goldstream Food Bank is entirely volunteer-run, drawing on the support of locals, food distributors, schools, churches, local businesses, and other community organizations to help over 600 people every month. It serves the municipalities of View Royal, Langford, Colwood, Highlands, East Sooke, and Metchosin. The food bank is also currently accepting applications for holiday hampers.
Since 1983, the Comox Valley Food Bank has been operating with a core mandate to distribute free emergency food to individuals and families facing food insecurity. In addition to relieving hunger, the non-profit is also committed to healthy food initiatives such as its Grow a Row program, which encourages gardeners to set aside a row of their harvest for those in need. Each month, it serves 2,086 local people — 30% of those are children.
“As an organization with a social purpose to generate win-wins for the greater good, BCLC developed the Love Local BC initiative as one way to do just that,” says Peter ter Weeme, BCLC’s chief social purpose officer and vice president of player experience.
“We’re proud to support communities, non-profit organizations, and local businesses throughout the province as part of this important virtual fundraiser that comes at a such a pivotal time of need here in BC.”
In addition to supporting local and helping relieve hunger, when you bid on an item as part of the initiative during the campaign (successful or not), you’ll be entered into a grand prize draw (with a maximum of one entry per person) worth up to $5,500. The exciting grand prize includes a one-night stay in one of Parq Vancouver’s most luxurious suites, generously donated by Parq Vancouver.
Earlier this year, BCLC sponsored the two-week Spread the Local Love initiative that raised over $22,000 for local charities and contributed another $20,000 to local businesses. Now you can help make the latest Love Local BC fundraiser a success as well. To learn more about the impact your support will make, visit Love Local BC.
About BCLC: BCLC is a Crown corporation created with the purpose of giving back to communities. Every time you purchase a lottery ticket or play in a casino or online at PlayNow.com, it generates revenue that goes back into healthcare, education, and community programs across BC.