SurreyCares supports DIVERSEcity’s food access initiatives with grant from the Emergency Community Support Fund

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-centered programs and supports. DIVERSEcity’s Food Security programs provide immigrants, refugees and low-income families with accessibility to food sources, health and nutrition literacy, food preparation advice and affordable food resources that are culturally responsive.

Food Accessibility Fund for Migrants and their Families affected by COVID-19

DIVERSEcity’s Laura Mannix thanks SurreyCares Community Foundaiton for their generous grant on August 26, 2020.

The SurreyCares grant to DIVERSEcity, made possible through the Government of Canada’s new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares, will be 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, DIVERSEcity’s director of Community Development, said, “Refugee and immigrant populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19; 57 per cent 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.”

“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.”

With this new funding, “we will be able to support more than 200 more families, living in Surrey, Delta or Langley with access to healthy, affordable food,” added Fiona Stevenson, manager, Volunteer & Community Programs, DIVERSEcity. Priority will be given to referred clients who are unable to access other supports or have additional levels of vulnerability.

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.”

Photo above:  A physically distanced funding announcement was held on August 26, 2020, at DIVERSEcity’s Hazelnut Meadows Community Garden in Surrey, BC.  From left (Christine Buttkus, executive director of SurreyCares; Fiona Stevenson, manager of volunteer & community programs, DIVERSEcity; Linda Annis, a director of SurreyCares and Surrey city councillor; and Laura Mannix, director, community development, DIVERSEcity.