Good nutrition fuels both our bodies and our minds. This is what the Kelowna & District Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) firmly believes and is working to enhance among the youth they support in Kelowna through their Connected by 25 Supper Club. The Supper Club is a program that supports at-risk youth (ages 16–24) in their transition to adulthood by providing knowledge, skills and community connections to successfully address issues of food insecurity and hunger.
This program has also helped participating youth become more connected to their community, discover peer support and volunteer opportunities, gain vocational skills and development, and at the foundation of all this, improve their nutrition education and food security.
Research has shown that when people eat alone, they are less likely to eat a nutritious meal. This is especially true for seniors. Peachland Wellness Centre’s Cooking with Company program is working to make sure that seniors in Peachland have access to a healthy meal and social environment, and do not have to eat alone.
The program started in fall 2012 with the assistance of a $1,000 Valley First Community Endowment grant and received an additional $1,000 grant last year.
“The Valley First grants helped us to solidify community partnerships, paved the way for future collaborative food and nutrition initiatives, and raised community awareness of the need for more support of our senior community,” says Lisa Spalleck, Peachland Wellness Centre’s Secretary/Treasurer.
For many parents and children, a normal school routine includes packing a lunch box to make sure children have the food they need to sustain them throughout the day. However, some are not as fortunate and do not have resources readily accessible to have anything available to eat before school or to take with them. The sad reality is that many kids don’t know whether there will be anything available when they come home from school either.
Sardis Doorway for Mothers and Children Society works to open doors to healthier and happier lives for single/high risk mothers (occasionally fathers, too) and their children in Chilliwack. When participants start with Sardis Doorway, many of them are starting from a place of isolation, addiction, abuse, low self-esteem, poverty, un- or under employment, low education and little hope. Sardis Doorway helps these parents and their children move past their hurdles towards health and self-reliance.
One in three Canadian families cannot afford to enroll their children in art, sport or recreation activities because of financial barriers, which is why programs such as the Chilliwack Central Elementary Community School Society’s (CCECSS) 2nd Day After School Program are essential to a thriving community and youth population. Initiated in February 2012, the free after school Central 2nd Day program offers inner city elementary school-aged children with supervised educational, recreational and cultural opportunities that otherwise would not be provided to them. Additionally, it connects youth in crisis with a caring community of support.
A safe afterschool environment, homework tutors, life skills and recreational activities are taken for granted by many Langley youth and families. But for immigrant and refugee youth who face many barriers, obtaining these resources and support aids in the transition to life in a new country.
Vibrant Abbotsford is an initiative of the United Way of the Fraser Valley (UWFV) focused on building a more vibrant city through the reduction of poverty. The initiative’s most recent project is the Fresh Food Box and Bulk Buying Club, a project that will purchase household and food items at wholesale cost, leveraging low-income residents’ buying power and passing along savings to participants.Envision Financial is proud to support the Abbotsford Fresh Food Box and Bulk Buying Club program with a $5,005 donation from the Envision Financial Community Endowment administered by the First West Foundation.
The Open Door Group’s Gardengate program contributes up to 20,000 pounds of organic produce to the Kamloops community each year, providing fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to low-income families and individuals. The produce donations are disbursed to local charities and food share organizations, including New Life Mission, the Salvation Army and Kamloops Food Bank. However, harvest contributions have been limited due to not enough funds. Now, with a $5,100 grant from the Valley First Community Endowment administered by the First West Foundation, the Gardengate program is expanding to provide even more support to the community.
The basic necessity of healthful food is often taken for granted, but what is easily accessible for some is not for all. A $6,500 Valley First Community Endowment grant administered by the First West Foundation is assisting Penticton & District Community Resources Society (PDCRS) to ensure nutrition for some of the most vulnerable community members: low-income families and youth.