Home Business & Economy Food & Agriculture Immigrant food organization gets $300K from BC 2022-2023 surplus

Immigrant food organization gets $300K from BC 2022-2023 surplus

sheila malcolmson
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Sheila Malcolmson (right) at the Immigrant Link Centre , Feb 6, 2024. [BC Govt]

Tuesday February 6, 2024 | COQUITLAM, BC [Updated 5:10 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

It’s been almost a year since the BC Government announced a $200 million fund (from the 2022-2023 budget surplus) to be put toward agricultural and food supply initiatives.

Associated announcements keep rolling out.

sheila malcolmson
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Sheila Malcolmson (centre) at the Immigrant Link Centre in Coquitlam, Feb 6, 2024. [BC Govt]

“People are facing such challenges with food costs as global inflation drives up prices at the grocery store,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, today in Coquitlam.

“Helping people get nutritious and affordable food helps reduce poverty, so on top of hundreds of other projects, today we’re funding healthy, culturally appropriate food for families in 25 Lower Mainland locations”.

Malcolmson announced $300,000 in funding for the Immigrant Link Centre Society for “better access to healthy and culturally appropriate food” for immigrants and refugees.

nourish community, immigrant
Immigrant Link Centre Society – Surrey
city of langford, budget 2024

Inflation impacts:

Food insecurity has increased in BC due to inflation, supply-chain issues and climate emergencies, such as fires and floods, that have interrupted food supply and production.

The BC Government says today that funding will help address the diverse challenges of food producers, processors, suppliers, retailers and consumers, strengthening food security for everyone.

Surplus and unsold food:

Seven days a week, the Immigrant Link Centre Society gathers and distributes surplus and unsold food from grocery stores to more than 4,000 people. Every two weeks, and at no cost, each family and senior receives customized hampers according to religious traditions, allergies, medical conditions and family size.

“Food is life. Don’t waste life,” said Igor Bjelac, director, Immigrant Link Centre Society. “Thanks to the invaluable support from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, we’ve been able to expand our food-recovery efforts. Their commitment to alleviating hunger and reducing food waste aligns seamlessly with our mission and our food-recovery activities.”

urban food resilience initiatives society, logo
The Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society is based in the west shore of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

More locations:

With this funding, the society is able to provide meals for more families in more locations by increasing its capacity to collect food and expanding the number of retailers, distributors and growers that provide donations.

The Immigrant Link Centre Society will also be able to train more newcomers in volunteer work, offering them community connection, skills and experience to enter the Canadian labour market.

Stretching the $200 million:

This investment is part of the historic $200-million funding announced by government in March 2023 to strengthen the food-supply chain throughout BC, increase the availability of fresh food, encourage more food production in remote areas, strengthen food infrastructure and create more regional community food hubs.

eby, alexis, malcolmson
Premier David Eby announced $200 million to support the resilience of food supply, production and distribution in BC, March 7, 2023 in Vancouver.

That fund was from the 2022/23 budget surplus, and has been tapped throughout the past year for projects like food bank supports and food school programs.

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