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Fresh veggies for newcomer families

June 11, 2020

Since 1975, Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS) has been helping immigrant and refugee women integrate and grow into Canadian society. We are a caring community dedicated to creating programs that are responsive to our participants’ unique needs and that build a strong foundation for success.

Earlier this year, PIRS embarked on a potential research project with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) at KPU that looked into providing healthy food to newcomer families, while also gaining insight on the potential impact healthier food access and options can provide to such families. As soon as the pandemic hit, the necessity for healthy nourishment grew exponentially and so with the support of KPU, we revised our collaborative project to prioritize the distribution of food to help immigrant families who were in immediate need. 

In April and May 2020, PIRS staff reached out to 350 immigrant and refugee women in the Metro Vancouver area and found that they are struggling. From these conversations, we understood that 50% of immigrant and refugee families are facing increased stress from loss of income and growing anxiety about financial and housing instability. 87% of the immigrant and refugee women we talked to are feeling isolated and mentally exhausted and have expressed a need for one-to-one support to navigate government emergency benefits and other basic necessities. One of the top 5 identified basic needs is access to food.

Through our partnership with KPU we are able to provide veggies boxes with a variety of farm-fresh, seasonal vegetables to 10 newcomer families with young children. For 15 weeks, each family will receive a box of nutritious, organically-grown veggies from the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School so they can prepare balanced meals for both parents and children. We want to offer families more than just canned goods, and our goal was to help them thrive, not just survive. This aligns strongly with our vision for a society that values the diverse contributions of immigrants and refugees and promotes the enrichment of their lives.

Your contribution could help us expand this project and reach even more newcomer families in need. $29 provides one box of fresh, organic vegetables for one family. A recurring donation can ensure one or more families get the nutrition they need for the months ahead, as we all continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, and its aftermath. If you’re interested to support this project, please click here.