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Lookout Housing & Health Society Receives $15,688 for a “COVID-19 Ambassador & Food Program."

We have provided a $15,688 Emergency Community Support Fund grant to the Lookout Housing & Health Societys “COVID-19 Ambassador & Food Security Program”. This project offers vulnerable immunocompromised individuals with protein/vitamin-rich food hampers, PPE, and COVID-19 safety information.


Left to right: Christine Buttkus, Meg Tran, Terry Brock

Lookout Housing and Health Society is a non-profit organization with 50 years of experience offering a range of housing, health, and support programs to vulnerable adults living with multiple challenges. Lookout currently operates 55 sites that span 15 communities in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island, providing services to over 3,000 people every day through its 110 health and social programs and houses 1,750 people each night in shelters, transitional, supportive and affordable housing. Lookout offers a wide range of health and wellness services and is at the forefront of creating innovative programs to meet community needs.

Since the onset of COVID-19, Lookout’s Positive Haven Food Bank has seen a near 40% increase in the number of hampers given out. At the same time, the Fraser Valley has had the highest rate of infection in the Lower Mainland. Individuals that access services at Lookout are in the high-risk category for COVID-19. Thus accessing immune-boosting foods, educational information, and protective equipment to safeguard themselves is an essential part of maintaining their health during this time.

“This program aims to increase the food security of vulnerable individuals while improving their knowledge and adoption of COVID-safe practices,” said Meg Tran, Manager of Surrey Health Programs at Lookout Housing & Health Society. “Providing information, PPE, and handing out protein and vitamin-rich food hampers to vulnerable populations is integral to minimizing the virus’ impact on our communities. As a whole, the Surrey Community benefits from more informed, food-secure individuals with access to PPE to protect themselves and those around them.”

Lookout has trained volunteers on health practices recommended by the B.C. Government and proper use of PPE so they can act as Peer Ambassadors. The Peer Ambassadors work to ensure that guests adhere to COVID-19 protocols while using Lookout's services. Additionally, Peer Ambassadors communicate safety information in a relatable manner to increase awareness and adoption amongst guests. The Peer Ambassadors also distribute PPE, such as masks and hand sanitizer, to ensure that vulnerable individuals have the tools they need to stay safe.

“I commend the Peer Ambassador Program's success during the pandemic,” said Terry Brock, Director of Health Services in the Fraser Region at Lookout Housing & Health Society. “Our services are truly accessible to all. That is the beauty of it; everyone is welcome. So thank you to the Government of Canada and SurreyCares for this funding as it is extremely beneficial to the community.”

The Peer Ambassadors earn stipends while they work, which allows them to modestly supplement their income and build transferable skills while also gaining self-confidence through meaningful, engaging work. The Peer Ambassadors at Lookout attend program activities on Mondays and Thursdays, the Positive Haven Food Bank on Wednesdays (where they distribute immune-boosting food hampers), and DOPERS meetings (Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services) Tuesdays.

“It has been difficult to communicate with individuals since the pandemic. But even so, the organization managed to set up a weekly schedule for all the people who received the services,” said Meg Tran, Manager of Surrey Health Programs at Lookout Housing & Health Society. “However, drop-ins will be permitted again Thursday, July 8, 2021, with a maximum of 15 guests in the room at any given time.”

This grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares in its first round and now over $575,000 in the second round.

“Protecting immunocompromised individuals living within our community by providing food security and safety information is essential, especially during the pandemic,” said Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares Community Foundation. “Therefore, SurreyCares is grateful to be able to support Lookout’s important work through the COVID-Safe Ambassador & Food Hamper program.”

The Emergency Community Support Fund is being delivered through a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross.

Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund. In partnership with the Surrey Now-Leader, Surrey Board of Trade, and The Saheli Foundation, the goal is to raise $500,000 to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey.


To learn more about John Howard Society, visit their website at https://johnhowardbc.ca/pacific/.

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