What happened: The B.C. government has granted Food Banks British Columbia a $3 million emergency grant.
Why it matters: Food banks are considered an essential service provider and their operations have been disrupted by government efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Food Banks British Columbia has received a $3 million emergency grant from the B.C. government to support food banks’ immediate needs.
The support, funded by B.C.’s Community Gaming Grants program, comes as efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 disrupt food bank operations across the province.
Food Banks BC will be responsible for assessing the needs of individual food banks and distributing funds. The organization has reported that food banks are seeing higher than normal volumes of individuals in need of support.
The grant uses funding left over from the Community Gaming Grants program’s $140 million 2019-20 budget. It aligns with a provincial order to protect B.C.’s most vulnerable during the current public health emergency. Food banks are also considered by the province to be an essential service provider.
Food Banks Canada recently launched a fundraising campaign to raise $150 million for a COVID-19 response fund to support food banks across the country during and after the present pandemic.
Earlier this month, Proof – a household food insecurity research team – reported that one in eight Canadian households were food insecure, meaning they had inadequate or insecure access to food because of financial constraints.
The research was compiled before B.C. declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency, and before the escalation of confirmed coronavirus cases in Canada.
Proof found that 1.8 million households representing 4.4 million Canadians were food insecure – the largest number on record.