Rapid Relief Fund helps small farms, food-share program

Donate online at RapidReliefFund.ca.  

Almost half the latest round of grants from the Rapid Relief Fund is going to a group that helps small local farms sell produce to various organizations that need it.

The Victoria Community Food Hub Society, which got a grant of $485,000 from the fund, provides funding to 35 members of the Food Share Network — including the Greater Victoria and Sooke school districts — to purchase food from 21 farms.

“You’ve got all these small- and medium-sized farms that basically lost their livelihoods because everything shut down,” said Rob Janus, spokesman for the Victoria Foundation, which launched the fund with the Jawl Foundation and Times Colonist. “They were mostly selling to restaurants and other small-scale [places] and all that got shut down, so they lost all their business.

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“That was their primary, if not sole, avenue for selling their produce.”

The farms involved, located mostly on the Saanich Peninsula, aren’t big enough to sell to grocery stores, Janus said. “They can’t just transition.”

Janus called it a good-news story that helps part of the food economy “at the same as helping people that are very vulnerable.”

The latest round of 16 grants from the Rapid Relief Fund to community organizations totals $927,000.

Also receiving funding for food access were the Nourish Cowichan Society ($20,000), the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group Society ($54,000) and the Sooke Region Communities Health Network Co-operative ($5,000).

Money also went to groups providing physical- and mental-health supports, and helping to prevent homelessness.

Since it was launched, the fund has disbursed more than $5 million to 83 organizations, with more money still to be distributed.

HOW TO DONATE

Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.

• Online: RapidReliefFund.ca

• Phone: 250-381-5532

• Mail: Send cheques (made out to the Victoria Foundation) to RapidRelief Fund, Victoria Foundation, 200-703 Broughton St., Victoria V8W 1E2.

The Rapid Relief Fund was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist to help people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHEK Television, Coast Outdoor Advertising and Black Press are helping to boost awareness. Every dollar received from donations goes out as grants to the community.

Donations are being distributed through the Victoria Foundation: victoriafoundation.bc.ca/rapid-relief-fund-disbursements

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