The City of Courtenay is in the process of determining an appropriate amount of funding to contribute to a local food program, as directed by council.
At the April 19 meeting, Coun. Wendy Morin forwarded a resolution to provide $60,000 to support local food purchasing for vulnerable populations, and to continue LUSH Valley’s Good Food Box program during the pandemic. The money would come from a $200,000 fund for unexpected costs and revenue losses, from provincial COVID-19 Safe Restart grant funds.
A January presentation from LUSH Valley detailed the society’s activities during 2020.
“It’s pretty impressive the amount of people who were fed,” Morin said. “We know that COVID has impacted so many households, way beyond who normally would be helped with food security issues — working families, and many, many seniors…It’s been an amazing collaborative. Food security is everything. If you don’t have good nutrition, you don’t have the capacity to fight off all kinds of health-related issues.”
A large part of the program has been economic recovery, Morin added, noting about 90 per cent of food is sourced locally.
In January, LUSH Valley had requested $100,0000 to help restart the food box program for vulnerable citizens.
There was some uncertainty as to how much Comox and the regional district have contributed to the non-profit. While he fully supports LUSH Valley, Coun. Doug Hillian was concerned that $60,000 might exceed their budget needs. He also noted a recent council policy to not distribute grants.
“This potentially opens the door on that,” Hillian said.
He suggested to postpone the resolution to the next council meeting to allow staff to determine exactly how much money LUSH Valley requires. Council approved his motion.