Healthy food for families who need it

>> Kathryn Juricic & Mila Czemerys

Holidays can be a tough time as we struggle to make ends meet but for many, these struggles are year-round. Fernwood NRG is creatively responding to our community’s need for support by focusing on a year-round campaign to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to families who need it.

The Gift of Good Food is back for its fifth year and needs your help. We want to extend a profound thank you to you for going above and beyond last year’s call to action to support Fernwood families, it was so inspiring. Together, we raised $11,000 to support 24 families. Based on this success and community need, Fernwood NRG has partnered with eight other community centres in order to help families that they serve as well.

With your support and our growing team, our goal is to raise $50,000 to support 100 families from Sooke to Sidney.

In organizing for this campaign, we had the chance to connect with families who received the Gift of Good Food in the past. For details on the impact this has had for the past year, please read one mother’s testimonial here.

This 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 food hamper programs?

  1. The Gift of Good Food offers fresh fruits and vegetables opposed to non-perishable items. Our goal is to add ­nutritious produce to the equation.
  2. Instead of a one-time food hamper, it provides Good Food Boxes every two weeks for all of 2016. 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 $500 to provide one family with Good Food Boxes for all of 2016. Every donation, big or small, helps make a difference. For example, a $20 donation provides one family with a large Good Food Box.

According to Victoria Vital Signs, poverty is on the rise and the cost of food is increasing at double the rate of inflation. Further, one in ten households in Greater Victoria reported they were food insecure in 2014. In the face of these statistics, it is empowering to know that as a community we do have the power to affect meaningful change.

The Good Food Box was started 18 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 throughout the Greater Victoria area. 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 to this ­fundraiser at thegiftofgoodfood.­ca/donate
  2. In-person, at the Fernwood Community Centre at 1240 Gladstone Avenue until December 22nd
  3. By phone 250-381-1552
  4. By signing-up a fundraising team, email

Individual donations of $20 and over will receive a charitable donation receipt. Fernwood NRG is raising funds until December 31st and families will be chosen in January 2016.

For more info and to make a donation, please visit