A new community initiative has been developed to increase local food security.
Katimavik is currently working with Free Rein Associates, The Hope Centre, chamber of commerce and Fraser Health Authority to open a drop-in centre that can provide people with one meal or food item every day. Meals would be prepared from items donated by restaurants and grocers that no longer meet their quality standards. This could include extra mash potatoes, hamburgers or day-old bakery items.
“So much food is wasted on a regular basis that contributes to the overflowing landfill problem,” said Katimavik project leader Elisa Boorman. “It’s food that they’re throwing away at the end of each shift, but it’s still perfectly suitable for feeding someone that’s hungry.”
The new initiative is modeled after successful programs like Quest Food Exchange in Vancouver and Feed Spokane in Washington state.
Katimavik will provide scheduled pick-up times every week to collect donations. So far, The Blue Moose, Sakoon and Cooper’s Foods have committed to the program. However, organizers are looking for more businesses to pitch in.
The food recovery initiative is something Christine Proulx, director of Free Rein Associates, has been advocating for years. She believes there’s a big need for a program like this in Hope.
“We do see an awful lot of hungry people,” she said. “I think there’s more hungry people out there than the majority of our community realizes. We don’t have beggars on the streets like Vancouver does, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.”
Access to food resources in Hope is limited. The food bank currently supports 269 people in Hope and another 109 people in Boston Bar. However, clients are only able to receive handouts once a month.
According to a report released by the Fraser Valley Regional District in April, the number of people reported living on the streets of Hope has also doubled since 2008. The report shows 43 people are currently homeless, up from 20 three years ago.
Fraser Health will be monitoring the food recovery project to make sure it meets health department regulations. The organization is also providing volunteers with training in food safe handling on Aug. 22.
Any business interested in participating can contact Boorman at 1-866-941-6589 ext. 2209 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.