SurreyCares Community Foundation and the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) have provided a total of $45,000 in grants to DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society to help address growing food insecurity concerns.
Vulnerable populations continue to be disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. DIVERSEcity’s mission is to empower immigrants and refugees and build inclusive communities in British Columbia through the delivery of culturally and community-centred programs and supports. DIVERSEcity Food Security Programs provide immigrants, refugees and low-income families with access to food sources, health and nutrition literacy, food preparation advice and affordable food resources that are culturally responsive.
The grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares.
SurreyCares and ECSF grants are supporting DIVERSEcity’s program, titled, Food Accessibility Fund for Migrants and their Families affected by COVID-19. This program will provide food accessibility to immigrants and refugees who are experiencing food insecurity due to the impacts of COVID-19 through the provision of culturally responsive food hampers/groceries, grocery gift cards and volunteer-led grocery delivery.
Laura Mannix, Director of Community Development at DIVERSEcity explained, “Refugee and immigrant populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 57% of the migrant populations DIVERSEcity works with have indicated an annual income of less than $25,000 and were facing food insecurity before COVID-19. In response to the challenges refugees and immigrants were facing due to COVID, DIVERSEcity pivoted the limited funding it had for existing food security programs to develop the Food Accessibility program, which provides refugee and immigrants who were food insecure with accessibility to food.”
DIVERSEcity’s program will provide support to those who need it through online grocery store gift vouchers, delivery of tailored food hampers, and grocery purchasing and delivery to those who cannot leave home due to immune deficiencies or being in quarantine.
“COVID-19 has forced many charitable organizations to pivot in the ways in which they work to support vulnerable populations,” said Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares. “DIVERSEcity’s program will allow refugee and immigrant populations to continue accessing food security support during this unprecedented time.”