Surrey – SurreyCares Community Foundation and the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) have provided a $45,000 grant 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.
The #ECSFund grant is 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.”
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.
“We’re grateful to the Government of Canada for this much-needed boost benefitting local charities,” said John Lawson, Chair of SurreyCares. “Charities and non-profit organizations have been leading the charge to assist those who need it most in the fight against COVID-19. We know the need for funding is still significant and we’re continuing to advocate for additional emergency funds.”
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.