›› Chantille Viaud

As I write this, we’re at the one-year mark since the first COVID-19 case was reported in B.C.

The pandemic has impacted so many parts of our lives. For some people, the impacts have been inconveniences and ­disappointments. For others, it has meant a struggle to afford food for their family.

The number of Canadian households experiencing food insecurity has risen to one-in-seven during the pandemic. Households with children are at even higher risk at 19.2 per cent. Food bank usage has surged across the country.

Victoria has been no different.

As the impacts of the pandemic started to emerge here, Fernwood NRG decided to put emergency resources into our Good Food Box program as a way to deliver free food boxes across the city.

Working with our community-based partners, we have provided over 7,800 free boxes since the pandemic hit.

This year, we will be able to support over 300 families thanks to a record-breaking fundraising year for The Gift of Good Food.

The support of our community has been overwhelming. Veteran front-line staff had tears in their eyes when told how many of the families they work with would have the support of a Good Food Box this year.

As wonderful as this achievement is, we know that this kind of program is just a band-aid, stop-gap solution. Food ­insecurity cannot be solved through ­charity as it is not the result of lack of food, but lack of income. Job losses during the ­pandemic has made this clearer than ever.

But we also know that this support is needed now for families. We are proud that the free food boxes are delivered through the same program as purchased boxes so that there is no stigma associated with ­getting one.

If you want to help, please consider donating to the Good Food Box. Or, buy one yourself, as this also supports our work. Go to thegoodfoodbox.ca to order a box and fernwoodnrg.ca/donate to give.

Thanks to emergency funding from the Victoria Foundation, the United Way, Community Food Centres of Canada, City of Victoria Strategic Plan Grant, and ­individual donors.