Archway Community Services has been awarded a $198,000 grant through United Way’s Regional Community Food Hub initiative.
Funding will support the Archway Food Justice program, including the Bulk Buy Collective, which provides fresh produce.
The funding will also support development of a commercial kitchen to provide community-led programming as well as advocacy to increase food security in B.C.
Now, more area residents can access fresh, nutritious and culturally appropriate food, said Kim Winchell, senior director of strategic initiatives for United Way of the Lower Mainland.
“People across British Columbia were already facing hard choices getting enough food prior to the pandemic, now it’s even tougher,” Winchell said. “Having a United Way Regional Community Food Hub in Abbotsford means everyone in need in that community will have increased access to food.”
Megan Capp – manager of social justice, seniors and housing at Archway – said the agency is grateful to the United Way “for supporting immediate responses to food access, while also recognizing the importance of long-term solutions.”
The Archway Bulk Buy Collective was officially launched on June 12. The initiative provides pre-made orders of produce filled with up to 12 varieties of fruits and vegetables monthly for a flat rate of $14.
In the first order, 39 households used their bulk purchasing power to buy 54 bags with 15 pounds of produce each.
“Buying fresh produce can be stressful on a tight budget, especially with produce prices increasing substantially,” said Taelyr Keeley, Food Justice coordinator at Archway. “Because produce is priced by weight, it makes it harder to ensure one is staying under their grocery budget.”
Archway Community Services is one of 15 United Way Regional Community Food Hubs across B.C. working to increase food security and reduce hunger.
The food hubs help people access food, food literacy and wellness programming, together with wrap-around services such as mental health support, employment services, childcare and more.
Archway will work with a network of community service providers to reduce service overlap, consumption, energy use, and distribution costs.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, United Way food hubs across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley served almost four million meals and delivered over half a million grocery hampers through 152 local sites.