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United Way launches Food Link app in North Okanagan

App goes live Monday, March 6, to help address food insecurity issues in B.C.; volunteers needed
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United Way B.C. works with partners and organizations to identify food insecurities in small towns, rural, remote and Indigenous communities, and city neighbourhoods, with the goal of building a sustainable food security system that meets the needs in each region. On Monday, March 6, the non-profit launched a new mobile app to help meet those needs. The North Okanagan is one of three areas selected provincewide for the launch of Food Link. (United Way B.C. file photo)

The North Okanagan is among the regions in the province where a new project is being launched by a familiar non-profit organization to address food insecurity in the province.

And volunteers for the program are being sought.

United Way British Columbia – working with communities in B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central and Northern Vancouver Island – is excited to announce the launching of an innovative mobile app designed to tackle food insecurity in the province.

Food Link connects the specific needs of non-profit partners and their clients to the healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate food they need by linking them to local, regional, and small-scale food organizations and suppliers. Food Link then allows United Way B.C. to organize volunteers who efficiently and cost-effectively transport food between locations.

With the rising cost of goods due to inflation, more British Columbians are experiencing food insecurity, which is defined by the Government of Canada as the “inability to acquire or consume an adequate diet quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so.”

In British Columbia today, 15 per cent of people are considered food insecure, which means that more than 726,000 people struggle to put enough quality food on the table.

The goal of Food Link is to reduce the barriers to accessing quality food for British Columbians.

“The issue is not that there is not enough food to distribute to community members in need, but rather it is an issue of access, both in terms of cost and people’s ability to get to the food they need,” said Kim Winchell, provincial director, community impact and investment, United Way B.C.

“Food Link addresses these challenges directly by acting as an easy-to-use and reliable connector between food organizations and businesses and non-profits and their program participants. Volunteers are critical to these connections.”

In order to support Food Link’s commitment to providing food to those in need, residents of the North Okanagan who are interested in volunteering as food delivery drivers can visit United Way B.C.’s iVolunteer online portal to apply: https://www.ivolunteer.ca/foodlink (volunteers must have access to a safe and reliable vehicle, and a valid B.C. driver’s licence).

The North Okanagan is among the three locations in the province that Food Link goes live today, Monday, March 6 (the other two are Surrey and Upper Fraser Valley). Food Link will roll out in select areas across the province later this year and in 2024, and the goal is for the app to be available B.C.-wide in 2024/25.

To learn more, visit https://uwbc.ca/program/foodlink/.

READ MORE: United Way BC helps families thrive through after-school programming

READ MORE: United Way BC funding goes a long way in boosting local food security



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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