When the COVID-19 pandemic first resulted in mass cancellations of events, exhibitions and gigs and other sources of income for artists, we surveyed the Artscape community and found that 40% of respondents were on the verge of food insecurity due to lost income. Since April 2020, Foodshare has stepped up to support artists at Artscape Bayside Lofts by providing weekly Emergency Good Food Boxes.
“We have been so happy and thankful to receive these boxes and several residents and residents’ families have benefitted,” resident Sedina Fiati exclaimed.
Sedina Fiati, Keiron Lyn and Annie Wong prepare the Foodshare boxes for delivery to the Artscape Bayside Lofts community. (Photo: Lisa Kannakko)
She, along with her partner Keiron Lyn and residents, Annie Wong, Hannan Burge Luviano and Rea Kelly, organized a system to gauge interest from their neighbours and to communicate the need with Foodshare. Weekly, they hand delivered the boxes filled with fresh fruits and vegetables to their neighbours, particularly to those who struggled to leave home safely to seek out fresh and healthy food, as well as necessary supplies.
“At Foodshare, we believe that food is a right. With so many households facing heightened food insecurity during the COVID-19 health crisis, we are working closely with local communities, including the residents at Artscape Bayside Lofts, to deliver fresh, nutritious food to folks facing the most severe difficulty accessing good food,” says Victoria Foote, Director of Development and Communications at Foodshare.
Foodshare rolled out the Emergency Good Food Box initiative as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit since there was no government-coordinated response offering emergency food relief. They recognized that people who have health challenges, who are elderly and socially isolated, who are living in transitional housing or who have been working in the gig economy were facing increasingly extreme food insecurity.
During lockdown, Foodshare provided fresh vegetables and fruits to residents. (Photo: Lisa Kannakko)
Between March 17 and June 13, FoodShare:
- Delivered 26,059 Emergency Good Food Boxes to 26,000+ households
experiencing food insecurity
- That’s 416,944 lbs of fresh produce distributed to communities city-wide
- They are collaborating with 80+ frontline agencies and organizations to reach
folks experiencing the most urgent food insecurity, including racialized and vulnerable communities.
Thanks to their generosity, they have contributed a total of $11,000 in Emergency Good Food Boxes to the Artscape Bayside Lofts community.