LASQUETI LIFELINE FOOD SECURITY PROJECT UPDATE FOR 2023
Greetings to the islands residents and those who are currently abroad. It's time to give the community an update from Lasqueti Lifeline food security project this year. For those of you who are new to the island, here is an overview first:
At the beginning of 2020, we established Lasqueti Lifeline with help from and at the suggestion of two residents, David and Laura. It started as a food security support system for the island after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a very tough time for almost everyone on the planet and Lasqueti was no exception. Due to the high demand for these services from Lifeline we decided to keep it going over the last 3 years.
From 2020 until 2022 the project has focused on stocking the passive food box called Provide, which is located at the corner of the fence outside of Provisions, regularly holding pay what you can meals and directly giving food to individuals in the community who could use a little extra. The decrease in a person's ability to purchase certain food items due to price increases as well as supply chain breakdowns, comfort levels with being out in public and health concerns are a few of the issues that topped the lists at that time. Now, top concerns are food inflation, general living costs and constantly fluctuating fuel prices which are at the top of concerns heard.
Freight costs make up a large part of food costs and because of continuing labour issues these costs have remained high and will likely continue as Canada heads into winter and imports more food products. A few examples, concerns and basic statistics: Prices on food items were up 10.8% on average from August 2021 to 2022. Chicken breasts were up by $3 a package, butter by a dollar a pound, pork sausage prices doubled and even canned soup going up almost 50% from approximately $1 to $1.43. This past year 20% of all Canadians are skipping meals to cut down on their costs. General food bank usage is up by 75%.
Anyone that is at the edge of poverty can be pushed over easily by an increasingly broken social safety net. Fluctuating weather has also had a huge effect, particularly in the winter. At the end of 2022 there was a long period of heavy snow which paralyzed the island and those who were living here at that time and at the end, this past December, there was a similar stretch. These periods are increasingly challenging as many residents face a shortage of work until the weather improves. Planning carefully and offering extra support can make a huge difference during these challenging times.
Lasqueti Lifeline's goal is to give as much energy, time and food towards reducing the effect these situations have on our residents. From the beginning we have always focused on empowering the community by giving food, our time and making it known that there are options available to help.
At the beginning of this Spring, we gave an overview of what our goals were this year and emphasized that we would rely on individuals contacting us to fund these goals. In total we have had $7,500 in contributions this year and have spent a total of $10,150 on the services listed above. The extra $2,650 was donated by financial contributions from False Bay Provisions to Lifeline and does not include numerous donations of volunteer time and labour from Provisions as well as other community members who have managed and provided these services. Watching the numerous fundraising campaigns that are ongoing this year and in past years, we chose not to hold a specific fundraiser this past year and instead invited those who were interested in donating to the project to contact us year-round. If you want to help, please contact us through False Bay Provisions at 250-333-8558, send us a letter, email or come by the cafe to ask if you can make an appointment to discuss it in person.
We would like to take a moment to thank everyone in the community who has given us the financial and emotional support to make all these actions possible. The passion for showing support for each other is exceptional. Having these services available to the island has been amazing and all the credit belongs to you. Holding space in our hearts to make time to feed each other has been amazing and you all deserve a round of applause!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, wishing you, your families and all of our friends the best in the New Year... here is to a very Happy 2023 to you all!
Thank you to everyone for all your support.
All of our best wishes to you, from Lasqueti Lifeline