Citizens can now register for fresh food box

Eating well and staying active are keys to healthier living, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants to help citizens reach this important goal.

The Nations’ citizens in Anacla, Port Alberni and Vancouver can now register to receive free monthly deliveries of nutritious food through the new Fresh Food Box Program, which is being funded by an unconditional contribution from Steelhead LNG to the Generations Fund. The program is available to all citizens, but first priority will be to support families with children under 18, elders and persons on Social Assistance or something similar. The Fresh Food Box Program will work to help make eating right easier and more affordable.

The Fresh Food Box is a non-profit alternative fresh food distribution system that is paid for in part through the Generations Fund. The initial unconditional contribution to the Fund, provided by Steelhead LNG over the course of the Feasibility phase of the proposed Project, will pay for the first stages of the program, including the purchase of a refrigerator truck.

“The refrigerator truck will help us ensure that we have health and safety in transporting the food from community to community as top priority,” explains Kathy Waddell, Director of Community Services for Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

Many communities offer a similar food box, but they come at a cost of between $20 and $30. Huu-ay-aht is committed to offering this healthy option at no cost to the people it serves. The Nation will purchase quality produce and ensure variety, freshness, sustainability and affordability. They will prioritize locally grown produce, with a particular focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. The boxes will also include some basics, such as flour, oatmeal and pasta. The boxes will likely contain approximately $35 worth of food, which will be delivered monthly to Anacla, Port Alberni and Vancouver.

The goal is to supply 120 Huu-ay-aht families with fresh food, in addition to helping with the distribution of food fish to citizens. As the program grows, there is potential to include other seasonal foods, such as shellfish, wild game, berries, fruits and veggies. By doing this, the program will support the Nation’s Traditional Foods Program.

“One of the areas the Community Services Department will be working on this year is gaining a better understanding about traditional foods and medicines. We want to know where to get them, how to prepare them and what makes them healthy for us,” Waddell says. “We have a wealth of knowledge out there, and we need to gather it up and make it accessible to citizens.”

The program is available to all citizens but first priority will be given to supporting families with children under 18, elders and persons on Social Assistance or something similar.

In addition to providing healthy food, the program will also share knowledge. This could include information about the food, ways to process, cook and preserve it. It can also give participants nutritional guidelines for different age groups and offer details on other support programs that are available.

Citizens may fill out the request form for the program and drop it off at PAGO, Community Services, or AGO: Attention to Community Services. They can also fax them to 778-421-1024 or email them to Kathy Waddell, Director of Community Services, (kathy.w@huuayaht.org). The forms are available at https://huuayaht.org/2015/05/26/online-fresh-food-box-form/ , and there are printed copies available as well. If you would like more information on the program, call 778-421-1022.

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