Surrey is among B.C. pilot-launch areas for a new mobile app designed to tackle food insecurity in the province, and volunteer food-delivery drivers are needed to help get the initiative off the ground.
The United Way BC’s Food Link, which went live Monday (March 6), is a demand-based app that “connects people with the healthy, nutritious, culturally appropriate food they need, when they need it,” the organization says.
The goal is to reduce barriers to accessing quality food for British Columbians.
Non-profits can request specific community food needs for local food suppliers and organizations to fulfill, and volunteer drivers then deliver the food.
United Way BC says the app provides food businesses with a free and simple way to donate food to those in need “while ensuring all community members have dignified access to the food that is essential for wellbeing.”
Food Link is now live in Surrey, Upper Fraser Valley and the North Okanagan, and will be rolled out in other areas of the province later this year. United Way’s goal is to have the app used B.C.-wide by 2025.
Your neighbours are in need! Volunteer to deliver food now. It’s easy with the Food Link by United Way BC app! Connect people with the food they need, when they need it.— United Way British Columbia (@UnitedWay_BC) March 6, 2023
Scan QR Code to download the Food Link app and sign up now. 🚘 #BetheLink #FoodLink #UWBC #UnitedWayBC pic.twitter.com/lrwP0R0fMq
With the rising cost of food due to inflation, more British Columbians are experiencing food insecurity, which is defined by the Canadian government as the “inability to acquire or consume an adequate diet quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so.”
In B.C. today, United Way says 15 per cent of people are considered food-insecure, which means that more than 726,000 people struggle to put enough quality food on the table.
“The issue is not that there is not enough food to distribute to community members in need, but rather it is an issue of access, both in terms of cost and people’s ability to get to the food they need,” says Kim Winchell, United Way BC’s provincial director of Community Impact and Investment.
“Food Link addresses these challenges directly by acting as an easy-to-use and reliable connector between food organizations and businesses and non-profits and their program participants. Volunteers are critical to these connections.”
People can download the Food Link app on uwbc.ca/program/foodlink, and volunteers can sign up on the website ivolunteer.ca/foodlink. Volunteers must have access to a safe, reliable vehicle, and a valid B.C. driver’s license.