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Protecting food security through partnership

Every community member should have access to healthy food
CFNO’s Fill the Gap Food Program was started in 2020 to offer a boost to those financially impacted by the effects of COVID-19. The need continues today as people are trying to stay afloat in times of rising costs.

“The generosity of community members who continue to donate to the Fill the Gap Food Program is invaluable to the families that benefit from it.” – NOYFSS Counsellor

“Food security exists when all people have sufficient, safe and nutritious food for an active and healthy life,” reads a statement from the BC Government’s webpage about food security. “Healthy food needs to be available and accessible so people can make healthy food choices.”

For the 91,100 British Columbians experiencing severe food insecurity, making healthy food choices isn’t an option. These people make difficult choices like skipping a meal to feed their child or buying cheap instant meals like Kraft Dinner so they can purchase gas to get to work or pay for utilities.

Community Foundation North Okanagan (CFNO) is engaging in charitable partnerships to make healthy food available to those who don’t have access to it. CFNO funds the Fill the Gap Food Program, delivered through the Good Food Box Society, and together we have been able to supply 3,200 food baskets and hundreds of grocery gift cards to offer people a boost in managing their food costs.

“The Fill the Gap Food Program was started in 2020 to offer a boost to those financially impacted by the effects of COVID-19. We have partnered with approximately 20 service providers to distribute the food boxes to individuals and families,” explains Leanne Hammond, executive director at CFNO.

North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS) has advised us that this program is essential and would greatly benefit the community if it was permanent.”

Jaime Royston, Program Supervisor of NOYFSS explains, “There are a lot of interrelated issues going on. Inflation is having a huge impact. The housing crisis is having a huge impact. People are having to choose between affording their rent and buying groceries. If you think about a family that is on Income Assistance, that rate hasn’t increased with rising costs. They get an allowance that is supposed to be for shelter and they must choose to use their grocery and support portion to pay their total rent. Which leaves them with zero money for food.”

NOYFSS is one of CFNO’s valued charitable partners in delivering the Fill the Gap Food Program. They have a diverse range of programs and services aimed at strengthening healthy family relationships. Their counsellors offer the Fill the Gap food boxes to families that need a boost that month.

“This support is so incredibly valuable for our families. It gives them a momentary reprieve from some of their stresses and provides them with healthy food they might not have the ability to access otherwise. Good Food Box Day is a beautiful day where we get to share so much joy amongst the community.” – Gratitude expressed by a NOYFSS counsellor.

CFNO issues food boxes to our charitable partners once a month, and each of our 20 partners has expressed that they could use more and receive food boxes more often. Please help us sustain this essential food program! For more information and to donate, please visit