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Funding helps immigrants fight food insecurity, get connected

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:16 PDT, Thu June 9, 2022

People facing food insecurity in B.C. will benefit from new government funding for community-based programs.

Immigrant Link Centre Society (ILCS) is receiving $50,000 to support their free food program From Pollution to Solution, which redistributes food for people facing food insecurity while keeping surplus food out of the landfill.

"The pandemic and climate emergencies in the province have put added pressure on families and households across B.C.," said Niki Sharma, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. "The work Immigrant Link Centre Society does supporting people in need to access healthy, affordable food is an example for us all."

From Pollution to Solution also provides opportunities for new immigrants to volunteer with the not-for-profit sector in British Columbia. They get access to valuable work experience in their new country as well as constructive opportunities to connect with their community.

"We are so pleased to receive this much-needed funding from the province," said Igor Bjelac, director, Immigrant Link Centre Society. "Food security affects so many people in our local community and this funding will help families get healthy and nutritious food in challenging times."

Over the next 12 months, ILCS volunteers will spend 15,000 hours collecting and sorting surplus food and delivering more than one million meals to individuals and families facing food insecurity. Their efforts will significantly reduce CO2 emissions while keeping edible food out of local landfills.

"Since 2016, Immigrant Link Centre Society has been gathering usable, unsold food from grocery stores and distributing meals to immigrants, refugees, and people in need at no cost," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance and MLA for Coquitlam–Maillardville. "I commend the volunteers of Immigrant Link and the good work they do."

Food security is identified as a key issue in TogetherBC, the province's poverty-reduction strategy. Since being released in 2019, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has spent almost $26 million on planning and implementing poverty-reduction and food security initiatives in communities around B.C., including First Nations communities.

To read more about Immigrant Link Centre Society, visit: immigrantlink.ca/

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