CFCC launches $3-million Good Food Access Fund to provide immediate food and supplies to 175 communities across Canada during Coronavirus
TORONTO, March 20, 2020 /CNW/ - Today, Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) launched a $3-millionGood Food Access Fund to provide emergency relief during this time of national crisis to our most vulnerable neighbours: children, single parents, Indigenous people, seniors, and those on disability supports. The Fund will ensure that the 183 Good Food Organizations and 13 Community Food Centres working on the front lines in 175 communities across Canada can quickly purchase food and supplies for those who need it most.
Before COVID-19 hit, 4.4 million Canadians faced food insecurity–inadequate or irregular access to food due to financial constraints. "Food insecurity was already an urgent problem before the virus. One in 8 Canadians struggled to put food on the table, so imagine how many more will be struggling now. Regardless of our individual circumstances, many of us will be fearing scarcity at a time like this. But in a time of national crisis, it is in our nature as Canadians to do what we can for our most vulnerable neighbours. While we are working with the government on an appropriate response, my ask to corporate Canada and all Canadians is to please act and act fast," says Nick Saul, CEO of Community Food Centres Canada.
Precarious employment and the closure of many businesses means that the number of Canadians who will require emergency food aid will increase exponentially over the coming weeks. CFCC assists the most vulnerable among us: 29% of participants are seniors, 24% are people on disability supports, and 41% are on social assistance. People of colour, new immigrants and people in Northern communities disproportionately experience food insecurity, which takes a toll on physical and mental health.
"Bringing people together in shared spaces over good food is at the heart of our work. We all look forward to the time when Canadians will again gather with friends and neighbours to share a meal. The economic measures announced by the government will be helpful. We will be working alongside others to help ensure that this response is effective and equitable. What Canada needs now is to make sure that no one is falling between the cracks by working with the front-line agencies that are equipped to get food out the door immediately to those who are being hit the hardest by the current crisis," says Saul.
CFCC partners are currently working hard to provide safe access to healthy food in low-income communities across Canada and have taken great precautions to reduce the risk of transmission. Community Food Centres have suspended community meals and cooking programs and are now focussing on ensuring community members can safely access food through take-away meal programs and enhanced access to food hampers. Good Food Banks in our network are providing pre-packed boxes for pick-up. Direct aid in the form of gift cards for groceries will be made available as resources allow.
"With this fund, we can make sure that as many people as possible will be able to get the food that they need. While we must deal with the current circumstances, CFCC remains committed to advancing policy change that addresses the underlying causes of food insecurity and poverty in Canada. We can't forget that structural inequity is at the core of so many of the challenges that Canadians face, a fact which painfully confronts us when an emergency like this occurs," says Saul.
By the numbers:
CFCC completed a research survey in summer 2019 with 561 Community Food Centre and Good Food Organization participants to dig deeper into the impacts of food insecurity. The results are sobering:
81 per cent said food insecurity had a negative impact on their physical health;
79 per cent said it had a negative impact on their mental health
64 per cent said it affected their relationships with loved ones;
59 per cent said it had a negative impact on their children;
58 per cent said it isolated them socially;
57 per cent said it was a barrier to finding and maintaining employment;
53 per cent said it impeded their ability to find meaning and purpose in life;
46 per cent said it impeded their ability to express and share their culture.
About Community Food Centres Canada
CFCC builds dynamic and responsive Community Food Centres and food programs that support people to eat well, connect with their neighbours and contribute, through advocacy and mutual support, to a more just and inclusive Canada. With our partners, we work to eradicate poverty, food insecurity and improve the health and well-being of low-income Canadians.
CFCC also supports the broader community food sector in Canada through our Good Food Organization program. We currently work with 183 organizations through conferences, trainings, grants and other resources in a total of 175 communities across Canada.