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United Way grant provides food to 100 former prisoners, families

Abbotsford-based M2/W2 Association receives $25,000 to supply groceries

The M2/W2 Association in Abbotsford has received a $25,000 grant from the United Way of the Lower Mainland to provide food for local people in need.

The funding comes through the United Way’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF), via Employment and Social Development Canada, and will be used to supply groceries to former prisoners living in the community.

“Even though the pandemic has limited the ways we can support people affected by incarceration, thanks to the generosity of the United Way and the federal government, we can provide healthy food to those who might otherwise be struggling to access it,” said Raymond Robyn, executive director of M2/W2 Association.

RELATED: Offender reintegration program gets $1.23 million in federal funding

Starting the week of July 6, the organization will distribute gift cards or food parcels once every two weeks to about 100 people, including members of M2/W2’s No One Leaves Alone (NOLA) program and their families.

NOLA connects former prisoners with people in the community, usually three or four volunteers and a case manager, who guide and empower the NOLA member as they transition from institutional life.

The program’s goal is to see members discover their place in the community and find success in five key areas: housing, health, education, relationships, and employment.

“Providing food is part of our community outreach,” Robyn said. “This funding will help people build resilience and stability during a challenging, uncertain time.”

The food security grant will run for six weeks, and after that, M2/W2 plans to reapply and continue the program.

M2/W2 runs three programs: an in-prison mentorship program, NOLA and the Hidden Treasures Thrift Store in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

RELATED: No One Leaves Alone program matches inmates with volunteers

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