A partnership between Wildsight Elk Valley and the Fernie Women’s Resource Centre (FWRC) is helping to lessen food costs for certain people in town this spring.
The program, running in April and May, will see 75 gift cards loaded up with $30 a week to be spent on items at the Local store in Fernie, which offers locally-sourced vegetables, fruits, frozen meat, and more.
According to Dawn Deydey, who spearheaded the project and is Wildsight Elk Valley’s community program coordinator, the “healthy eating initiative” is meant to support lower-income individuals, families, pregnant women, and seniors in Fernie.
“This program allows us to support Fernie families in purchasing local food which then, in turn, supports our local farmers and small-scale food producers.”
The initiative is similar to one they run in the summer through Mountain Market called the ‘Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program,’ also done in partnership with the FWRC.
Lauren Fox, executive director at the FWRC, which is helping facilitate the program, said: “(Deydey) created something that’s similar to that program because we had seen just the demand and need for that program.”
“Knowing that food security and food is a real concern for lots of people, she just saw it as an opportunity to apply for this funding for a couple of months until the summer starts.”
Funding for the April-May program at Local is coming from a grant from Second Harvest, an organization who mission is to reduce food waste in Canada, and more.
“It’s so great. It’s only run for a couple of days so far, but people are so excited and so thankful. And it’s amazing what 30 dollars can do,” Deydey said.
“Seventy-five people in our community are getting this funding. So it’s really exciting.”
Fox said that though the program is only running for two months due to requirements from the funder, the program is still helpful.
“Food cost is just creeping up. I mean it feels like it’s shooting up, skyrocketing up. And it’s a real concern for families around here. And then now we have gas prices (that) have gone through the roof.”
“So I think people are happy to have a little bit of extra.”