You can make a difference in the life of a family in need

›› Mila Czemerys

The holiday season and the winter months can be a tough time for families struggling to make ends meet. That’s why I got really excited when I first heard about the Give the Gift of Good Food fundraiser. Fernwood NRG is creatively responding to their ­community’s call for support by focusing on a year-round campaign to provide fresh produce to families who need it.

Give the Gift of Good Food is back for its fourth year and needs your help. The goal is to raise $4,500 to support ten ­families with one large Good Food Box every two weeks for one year. This is double the amount of giving from last year. The fundraiser focuses on supporting families who are in transition, have low incomes, single parents, or families who need ­support in meeting their ­nutritional needs. All funds go directly towards ­providing a yearly supply of fruits and ­vegetables to families who may not ­otherwise have access to fresh, local ­produce.

Why is this fundraiser different than other holiday food drives?:

1. It provides fresh vegetable and fruits that are not accessible at most food banks. Families accessing food banks generally receive non-perishable items. Our goal is to add nutritious produce to the equation.
2. Instead of a one-time food hamper, it provides food every 2 weeks for all of 2015. This gift keeps giving the whole year.
3. Families who receive Good Food Boxes will pick-up their food with all other Good Food Box customers. They will not feel singled out or face stigma when ­collecting their gift.

We are hoping businesses, ­individuals, and community groups will join the ­campaign and take on the challenge of helping to raise $450 to provide one ­family with Good Food Boxes for all of 2015. Every donation, big or small, helps make a difference. For example, an $18 donation provides one family with one large Good Food Box.

According to Victoria Vital Signs 2014, poverty is on the rise and the cost of food is increasing at double the rate of inflation. Further, 14% of households in Greater Victoria reported they were food insecure over the past 12 months. In the face of these statistics, it is empowering to know that as a community we do have the power to effect meaningful change. Until ­December 19th, you can donate to the Give the Gift of Good Food and ensure families have access to healthy, fresh produce.

The Good Food box was started 17 years ago by single moms and lower income families who wanted to bring local and organic produce to their community at reduced cost by bulk purchasing. The program grew from 12 boxes a month to 250 boxes a month and is now accessed in the Greater Victoria area from Sooke to Sidney. ­Fernwood NRG assumed ­responsibility for the operations of the Good Food Box program in 2012 and continues to provide affordable access to local and regional fruits and veggies.

If you want to get involved, there are 4 ways to donate:

1. Online with a simple click you can contribute directly.
2. In-person at the Fernwood Community Centre.
3. By phone 250-381-1552 ext. 100.
4. Through our fundraising partners in Fernwood and beyond.

Throughout Fernwood Village there are donation boxes in participating small business. Be sure to visit Aubergine, Ca Va Bistro Moderne, The Local General Store, The Paint Box School of Art, Soma Active Health, STS RX Pharmacy, Studio 1313 Hair Design, Vegas Convenience Store, and Who Dyd Your Hair to donate.

Donations of $20 and over will receive a tax-deductible charitable donation receipt. Fernwood NRG is raising funds until December 19th and the families receiving the Gift of Good Food will be notified on December 22nd.
For more info visit ­thegoodfoodbox.­ca/give-the-gift-of-good-food, email, or call 250-381-1552. Thank you for your contributions!