Food Banks across British Columbia are getting a financial shot in the arm.

The government is giving a $3-million emergency grant to Food Banks British Columbia.

The money is coming out of the Community Gaming Grants program.

It will be distributed among food banks provincewide to support their immediate needs to buy and distribute food, pay employees, and cover other costs essential to the delivery of their food programs. 

Food Banks BC will assess the needs and requirements of food banks to determine the amount and timing of the distribution. 

Funds will be distributed quickly and to food banks across all regions. 

“British Columbia’s not-for-profit food banks provide a critical service for vulnerable people in our communities, especially during this most challenging time,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “During times like these, we need to help each other as much as possible. This community gaming grant will help relieve hunger and provide support for the people in our province who need it most.”

The $3-million grant uses funding that remained in the Community Gaming Grant’s 2019-20 budget of $140 million after all 2019 community gaming grants had been awarded to or approved for eligible organizations.

“This grant will make a tremendous impact in communities all over B.C. and ensure that food banks can keep their doors open and continue to meet the needs of the vulnerable, who particularly need their assistance at this time,” said Laura Lansink, executive director, Food Banks BC. 

“We sincerely thank the province for this encouraging and vital assistance to Food Banks BC.”

The grant to Food Banks BC is in alignment with the ministerial order issued March 26th, under the Emergency Program Act, to protect B.C.’s most vulnerable, making it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.

In response to concerns raised by food banks about capacity to respond to the urgent need in their communities, the order removes barriers to business to allow: drive-through and delivery opportunities, larger hampers, increased home delivery capability and removes the requirement to present identification. These measures will make it easier for food banks to operate in this challenging time when more people are using their services.

These latest steps are part of the government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.