Media centre details
FortisBC is hitting the street to get food where people need it most
Aug 6, 2020
FortisBC is providing funds and staff to help deliver meals to homes, food hubs and community kitchens
Surrey, B.C. August 6, 2020 – Community food programs continue to face tremendous pressure as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. To help address the shortage of both funds and volunteers, FortisBC has reassigned its Street Team staff to assist with food distribution in the Lower Mainland and provided funding to the hardest hit food programs across B.C.
“The global pandemic created a huge increase in people seeking help and it is critical that we support people who cannot afford food. Significant donations like this help build healthy, caring, inclusive communities,” said Kim Winchell, senior director, strategy & operations, community impact and investment at United Way of the Lower Mainland.
United Way of the Lower Mainland has helped to identify and distribute funds to communities across the province and to its network of Local Love Food Hubs in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. The Food Hubs provide people with food supports closer to home, and in some instances, deliver food safely to peoples’ doors. The United Way is working to expand this network and keep the hubs open at least until the end of the year.
“We appreciate FortisBC for stepping up to support our COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Winchell. “Their contribution aids our Local Love Food Hub efforts to feed children, families, seniors and others in crisis.”
In addition to financial support, FortisBC is helping fill the gap for volunteer resources. Its eight-person Street Team is spending two to three days a week sorting and delivering food to hubs and community kitchens on behalf of the United Way. They are also delivering Meals on Wheels packages to vulnerable, homebound seniors in Vancouver and Richmond on behalf of the Health & Home Care Society of B.C. Street Team staff typically attend community events to help customers learn about saving energy and the many other programs FortisBC offers. Distributing food to people in need is keeping the Street Team busy doing meaningful work while events are on hold.
“Our staff live and work in communities across B.C. and are seeing firsthand how hard these organizations are working to keep up with demand, even as resources get tighter,” said Jody Drope, vice president, human resources, environment and health & safety for FortisBC. “We want to do what we can to support them.”
“This experience has provided me with a firsthand look at the enormous need in our community,” said Shawn Tie, Street Team, FortisBC. “I really appreciate the work these organizations are doing to address it, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to dedicate time to help. It’s been really gratifying.”
FortisBC invests in a number of grassroots community initiatives that contribute to a stronger and healthier B.C. This year, FortisBC has directed much of this investment towards programs that help people access food during this difficult time. While this support will extend these organizations’ resources a little longer, the need remains high. People who have the means to contribute or volunteer are encouraged to get in touch with their local food program providers to find out ways they can help. Other organizations looking to support the United Way Local Love Food Hubs, can learn more at uwlm.ca/action.
Shawn Tie and Gabriella Presgrave, FortisBC Street Team, making food deliveries on behalf
of United Way and Meals on Wheels.