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Provincial government announces $7.5 million investment in food hub funding

Goal is to double the number of B.C.’s food hubs to 40 from the current 20

B.C. is getting more food hubs.

As part of a July 19 tour of Campbell River, B.C. Premier David Eby stopped by Laichwiltach Family Life Society.

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Along with provincial Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Sheila Malcolmson and North Island MLA Michele Babchuk, Eby announced an investment of $7.5 million toward to United Way British Columbia for more affordable food hubs.

Eby stressed the importance of putting money into community programs, with the pitfalls that are out of the hands of the public, such as inflation, supply chain issues and climate emergencies.

“Everyone in this province deserves access to healthy food,” said Eby while he chopped vegetables for an onlooking crowd in the kitchen and surrounded by members of B.C’s United Way and Laichwiltach Family Life Society workers. “It’s hard for a lot of families, a lot of people like seniors right now. With impacts such as global inflation, we’re seeing it at the grocery store especially.”

As part of this funding, $100,000 will be donated to food hubs, such as the Strathcona Food hub of which Laichwiltach Family Life Society is a member of, for the next four years. The goal is to double the number of food hubs across the province, from 20 to 40. It will also assist in the implementation of a “food link,” an app that connects food needs of non-profit partners and clients to local, regional and small-scale food organizations and suppliers, while mobilizing volunteers to transport food.

Malcolmson said that the lessons of the global-wide COVID-19 pandemic brought attention to the importance of working on common goals to help those struggling in B.C.

“We got through the pandemic by working together,” said Malcolmson. “That’s really evidenced in a place like this. That’s why in partnership with United Way, our government and hubs like this are what we want to continue to get that work done.”

After the announcement, Eby was shown the dining room, where he met with First Nations elders and fielded questions. Malcolmson and Eby were then brought into the gymnasium, where Shawn Decaire did a drum ceremony welcoming the premier and minister to Campbell River, as well as leading the crowd in a rendition of Happy Birthday in honour of Eby’s upcoming birthday, which falls on July 21, before having lunch.

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