Imagine having to choose between feeding your family fresh fruit and vegetables and paying the rent. For many families in Northern BC, this is a stark reality.
Northern Health reports that our region has the highest rate of food insecurity in the province, with up to 19% of households not able to afford nutritious food to feed their families. Families who struggle to afford a healthy diet face increased depression, stress and social isolation. Children lack important micronutrients and risk increased chronic conditions like asthma and depression.
Network Ministry’s Good Food Box, a United Way supported program out of Dawson Creek, is working to change that.
Twice a month, volunteers gather to pack fresh fruit and vegetables into 140 boxes that are picked up or delivered to families who have been referred to the program by a Northern Health dietitian.
Jacqueline Janssen, Program Director at Network Ministries states, “The Dawson Creek Co-op picks the best quality fruits and vegetables for these boxes. Each box gets vegetables to make a stew, tomatoes, lettuce and cukes to make a salad, and eight pieces of fruit like apples, oranges and pears. All but one or two of these boxes are given for free because the family meets our guidelines.”
Jacqueline realizes there is often more to the story than families not being able to afford fresh food. “Many of the people we work with have a medical condition or some kind of trauma that is secondary to other conditions. We work with people who have acquired brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome, so I work hard to make sure this is a safe place for everyone.”
Your donations to United Way allow us to support programs that create a healthier, stronger Northern BC.