The Gift of Good Food fundraiser raises over $150,000 for 2021. Over 300 families will benefit from this community support.

›› Melissa Faye Reid

For the first time, the Gift of Good Food annual fundraiser reached, and smashed, its long attempted goal of $100,000. This year we raised over $150,000! This money will support over 300 families in need to receive a Good Food Box full of fresh produce every two weeks throughout 2021.

Individual donors and community businesses raised over $90,000 in total! The generosity from the community will be felt by over 300 families and 1,200 residents in the Great Victoria area. It was amazing to witness people’s capacity to selflessly give in a time of uncertainty.

Many donors donate to the Gift of Good Food year after year because they know the funds are directly supporting families within their neighbourhoods. The ability to make change at the community level is so ­important now more than ever. COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for neighbours to come together and support one another.

“We have food security and wish to share. In our neighborhood as we know, not all are so fortunate, especially now,” said one of our donors.

Another donor, who was previously a recipient said, “[Last] year we lost 80 per cent of our income due to COVID-19 and we were the recipient of a Good Food Box, every two weeks we would look forward to fresh veggies. We’d like to pay it forward and bless more people to experience the awesomeness fresh food brings!”

This year, 36 fundraising teams signed up to fundraise for the campaign, which is the highest number of teams to sign up, ever. In total, our teams raised over $40,000! Our 36 teams ranged from family members, friends, co-workers, businesses, neighbours, sports teams, and volunteers.

Large and small, our teams each made a goal and did their best to meet it. Some teams thought of some creative ways to spread the word including Lingon N’ Bandit featuring two dogs, who had it “ruff” this year and wanted to support folks in need.

One team, who has been fundraising for years said, “the Gift of Good Food has touched the hearts of many, and I am so pleased that together we have been able to make a difference.”

Local musicians, Ollie Happyness and Mikey Viper Teeth, wrote a song for the Gift of Good Food in 2018 called “Root for the Veggies.” We asked them to share their talents with the community and they hosted a livestream concert on Instagram.

They shared the Gift of Good Food’s “anthem”, with the community in the spirit of giving and to promote the ­campaign. They performed online which created an opportunity to for community members to attend a virtual concert, which many of us have been missing.

Though this year has been different from years past, we still needed the ­support of volunteers. During the fundraiser, we had a few extra hands distribute posters throughout neighbourhoods within the city. Although some businesses were still closed to the public, many were happy to put up a Gift of Good Food poster in their shop window. Another ­volunteer ­supported with our first ever, virtual silent auction, by asking local businesses throughout Greater Victoria to support the Gift of Good Food.

Many local businesses shared their ­support by providing silent auction donations, donating a portion of their sales to the campaign, and promoting through their social media platforms.

We are so grateful for everyone who contributed to the Gift of Good Food Fundraiser and the difference you’ve made in the lives of local families. Thank you from the bottoms of our heart at ­Fernwood NRG and never underestimate the effect of community coming together for a ­common cause.