At a time when tough news seems to be around every corner, Jewish Federation is thrilled to share an exciting announcement that will positively shape our community for decades to come.
Our partner Jewish Family Services (JFS) has just announced the creation of a Jewish community food hub, which will transform our community’s overall approach to food security. This new central hub will offer a variety of onsite food and wellness services, designed to build a more sustainable food-secure community. It will be located in the Mount Pleasant area, and is expected to open in the spring.
The development of a central community food hub has been in the works for some time and was a key recommendation of the Food Security Task Force, a collaboration between JFS and Jewish Federation. Providing food for those in need is a cherished Jewish value. Against a backdrop of alarming, growing demand, the task force lent a fresh lens to strategies that would ensure dignity and promote nutritious food choices for people in need, while also increasing access and raising awareness about available healthy food options.
Since the onset of COVID, the importance of shifting to a more diversified and centralized food distribution model has further intensified. Across the community, the need for food assistance has increased fourfold, with the percentage of Lower Mainland Jews who are living in poverty expected to increase to more than 18 percent by 2021. Many individuals and families are facing mounting economic, social and mental health pressures, especially as the pandemic stretches into the long winter months.
Rooted in Jewish culture and values, JFS’ new food hub will provide a central source for help, enabling community members to access a number of food-related and social service programs under one roof. Envisioned as a multi-purpose community gathering place, this space will be much more than a centre for food distribution and pick-up. Other amenities will include:
- Onsite counselling and case management services;
- Opportunities to learn about sustainable food approaches at the community garden; and
- Life-skill classes in the facility’s in-house kitchen.
Down the road, JFS also looks forward to hosting special events in this new space to foster community connection.
Through funds raised in the Annual Campaign, Jewish Federation each year supports a variety of JFS’ vital programs and services, including those that help address the growing need for assistance, and frequency with which people can access much-needed food supplies. One of this year’s allocations will be directed to help fund staffing and food purchases for the new food hub, and we’re very proud to support this important initiative.
Watch for more details about JFS’ new food hub in the coming months or visit the JFS website for more information.