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How $25 can make all the difference for someone experiencing food insecurity

Rising grocery prices have left more people than ever without reliable and consistent access to food

For just $25, you can provide a grocery gift card to someone living on low income.

As grocery prices continue to rise, vulnerable people need your help more than ever.

“Food insecurity means not having enough money to regularly put food on the table," explains Lori Angelini, director of philanthropy and community engagement at Victoria Cool Aid Society. "So many people in our community don’t know where their next meal is coming from."

Cool Aid’s grocery program helps people in Greater Victoria who live on low income by providing grocery gift cards that enable them to purchase their own food and supplies.

“Our clients are very low income, and once rent and all their bills are paid, they don’t have a lot left over. Especially now with the price of groceries being what it is. I’ve heard that our clients are losing a lot of weight.”

When available, Cool Aid clients receive grocery gift cards once a week, helping them supplement their grocery needs.

“The fact is, $25 isn’t a huge amount for groceries. But it really gives them a bit of added security,” Angelini says.

“Many of our clients also have health issues, so this helps get the fresh ingredients they need. $25, for instance, can buy protein for a week.”

Most importantly, the opportunity to buy their own groceries also provides Cool Aid clients with a sense of dignity. Not only do these donations supply nourishment, but they also empower people to go out and do their own shopping.

“So many times, for our clients, the only options are to go to food banks or soup kitchens where they’ll get food but not many choices,” Angelini says.

Founded in 1968, Cool Aid was initially a shelter for transient youth. Today, Cool Aid offers a variety of essential housing in 19 locations, including supportive housing, seniors housing, affordable housing, and temporary shelters. It also operates a community health care centre that provides health and dental care for people on income assistance.

Cool Aid’s grocery card campaign started in the winter of 2019 to buy gift cards because of a shortage of donated Christmas gifts.

“It was so popular. We didn’t expect it to get the pickup it did,” Angelini says.

“It’s kind of evolved from there. The pandemic hit, and we had to stop taking all food donations. We re-issued the holiday gift card program with a focus on groceries, and it really resonated.

Program donations also make it possible for Cool Aid to buy the cards in bulk, at a discount, from Save-On-Foods.

One-time or recurring monthly donations to the grocery gift card program can be made on the Cool Aid website.

“Thanks to our community, we’ve given out thousands of gift cards, but we need so many more,” Angelini says.

“These cards make such an impact in the lives of our clients. They look forward to the day when we give them out.”

To donate to Cool Aid Society today, visit coolaid.org/giftcards.