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.
Check out more here: https://pirs.bc.ca/fresh-veggies-for-newcomer-families/