Family harvests healthy holiday help

Oak Bay family makes a donation through Good Food Box program

Clockwise from top right: Cary Swoveland

When mulling over ways to give back, one Oak Bay family discovered it could give back all through 2015.

Britt Swoveland says she and her husband Jon, son Markus and in-laws Cary and Cindy Swoveland enjoyed a family Sunday dinner talk that turned to Christmas Day, which for the Swovelands, like many families, includes good food, gifts and a fun day with close family.

“We are very fortunate. Our family is blessed with good health, friends, loving family and happy homes,” Swoveland said. “But we realize for some, the holiday season can be a challenging time. Not everyone has the support they need. Not everyone has presents under the tree. Not everyone has healthy food to eat.”

They discovered a way to fulfill the healthy eating sentiment with a program that offers food to families for an entire year.

“Rather than heading out and shopping for items we like but don’t really need, we collectively decided to give some funds to a local charity to support those in greater need,” Swoveland said.

They discovered the Good Food Box program through the Fernwood Community Centre. It was established 17 years ago by lower income families and single moms to bring local produce to the area and bring household costs down, said Abby Cronk, family resource worker at Fernwood Community Centre. In 2005 FCC took it over.

“By combining our donation with our in-laws, we have a wonderful opportunity to provide healthy fruits and vegetables to a local family for an entire year,” Swoveland said. “We all really like the idea of giving locally, and the Good Food Box is run in such a manner (with mostly volunteers) to allow the donation to go directly to the cost of supplying healthy food to those in need.”

This year the Good Food Box seeks to raise $4,500 to supply 10 local families with fruits and vegetables for a year.

“The idea is to supplement their nutrition … and financially take some burden off them so they can focus their budgeting somewhere else,” Cronk said. “We service poverty, but we’re also serving people who are working two jobs.”

Families who receive Good Food Boxes pick up alongside all other Good Food Box customers, avoiding any opportunity to feel singled out. The program provides fresh vegetable and fruits not accessible at most food banks. Instead of a one-time food hamper, the group provides fresh food every two weeks for the year.

“It’s heartwarming to know that every two weeks a local family is picking up a bag of wholesome food that they otherwise would not have,” Swoveland said.

Go online to thegoodfoodbox.ca to donate or learn more about the program.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com