As the holiday season approaches we look forward to spending time with friends and family and sharing in holiday traditions together (like eating good food).
This season can also be hard for many, missing family or loved ones, or struggling with the pressures of the season’s heavy activity schedule, not to mention the additional costs. It can be stressful.
Speaking of stress, how is your holiday gift list going? Some are planners, and have been picking up gifts along the way. Others fall into the category of last-minute desperation shopper, who can’t stand the crowds and the noise and just want to get it over with.
I personally wrestle with the commercialism of the season and the feeling that we already have too much “stuff”. So I am here with an elegant suggestion for those of you who feel like me. I have found a fantastic way to tick off the box next to that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. Give the Gift of Good Food. It’s simple, meaningful and is the gift that keeps on giving.
The Gift of Good Food is a way to support families having a hard time making ends meet throughout the year with a biweekly box of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is different from other food hamper programs that you might know in that it focuses on fresh healthy foods and provides ongoing support in a dignified way for families. The families pick up their box alongside all of the other Good Food Boxes that are purchased and distributed through 11 community centres, neighbourhood houses and transition homes in Greater Victoria.
The program is run by Fernwood NRG in partnership with agencies across the region. Lee Herrin, the executive director, tells me that last year they were able to support 90 families with over 2,000 Good Food boxes through the Gift of Good Food program. That is over 6,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables.
One of the recipients of the program says “It means something healthy for my kids to eat. I can go down to the dollar store and buy a chocolate bar for my kid for 99 cents. Or, I can go in the fridge and get the cucumber that came in the Good Food Box and give my kid a few slices of that and she loves it. I love the fact that I can give my kids healthy snacks rather than junk food.”
When she learned that she would be getting the biweekly box she says, “I was just stunned. I was stunned and so excited… my kids would actually have vegetables in the house to eat for a whole year…It’s like a little Christmas gift every two weeks for my family.”
Lee is pleased that the program is making such an impact on people’s lives, and wants to grow it, “We need your help to reach our goal of raising $100,000 and feeding 200 families who may not otherwise have access to fresh, healthy produce”. The range in contributions is everything from $20 that would provide one box to a family, to $500 that would feed a family for a year.
So am I right? Is this the solution you have been looking for? You can either take your chances at the mall or do something that really makes a difference.
Give the Gift of Good Food yourself, or donate in honour of someone on your list. You even receive a tax receipt for gifts over $20. Donate to The Gift of Good Food at www.thegiftofgoodfood.ca/donate or call Fernwood NRG at 250-381-1552.
Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at email@example.com.