The City of New Westminster has received a $50,000 grant to help feed some citizens impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city applied to the Vancouver Foundation for a grant through its community response fund, which is providing grants to individuals and families, charities, corporations and others that support communities. Claudia Freire, the city’s housing/social planner, and Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Rob Dick applied for the grant on the city’s behalf.
“We were just informed that we received $50,000. That $50,000 will be used to operationalize a food-security program, which will be run out of St. Barnabas Anglican Church,” said John Stark, the city’s supervisor of community planning. “It will involve St. Barnabas, through their volunteers. It will provide up to 80 food hampers on a weekly basis for a 12-week period.”
Stark said the grant will also help purchase personal protective equipment for the volunteers who will be packing and distributing the food each Friday from 10am to noon at St. Barnabas Church.
“The city will also support it by providing tents, weather protection and physical distancing set-up and support,” Stark told council May 4. “As we are developing food-security plans for each of the neighbourhoods and subareas of New Westminster, this will be an important piece of the Brow of the Hill and Uptown neighbourhoods. It also further demonstrates our collaboration and partnerships with faith and nonprofit sectors in dealing with the issues now during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also recognizing that the need will go on beyond the containment of the pandemic.”
Mayor Jonathan Cote said the city has identified the issue of food security as one of the increasing challenges for some residents.
“Thank you to all of the staff that worked on that grant application,” he said. “A big thank-you to the Vancouver Foundation for their support. It’s going to mean a lot to our community.”
Because of COVID-19, St. Barnabas suspended programs including its thrift store, community lunch and food cupboard, but it recently reopened its Friday food cupboard.
Coun. Chuck Puchmayr thanked staff for applying of the grant for St. Barnabas. He also gave a little shout-out to community that came provided groceries to launch the program.
“Key West Ford came in with a whole bunch of nonperishables,” he said of the local business. “They (St. Barnabas) are in a really good place right now. They have got a lot of dry goods that will still be distributed.”
A $50,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation will fund a 12-week food program at St. Barnabas Church. The church was able to recently relaunch its emergency food hamper program, in part because of donations from Key West Ford - which once organized a barbecue at the Brow of the Hill church. PHOTO: New Westminster Record Files