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Meal program for West Van’s vulnerable seniors now funded into next year

Matching donations from the community will ensure Feed the Need continues to serve at-risk seniors well into 2021

A program that was created to help feed vulnerable seniors in West Vancouver in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has received a matching grant that will help keep it going into next year.

Until Dec. 31, the Ian and Rosemary Mottershead Fund, which is administered by the West Vancouver Foundation, will match donations up to $100,000 to help support the Feed the Need program.

Feed the Need was established by the West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre earlier this year in response to the hardships of the pandemic on older adults who lacked the means to access regular meals, according to the District of West Vancouver.

But now that the program has been in place for several months, a clearer picture of the extent of food security issues among West Vancouver elders is better known, said Jill Lawlor, the district’s seniors’ services and community wellness manager.

“Many of our people were struggling to eat nutritiously and eat well prior to the pandemic. And now that we have identified these folks who are in need, they have been benefiting so greatly,” said Lawlor. “This is a problem that extends beyond COVID-19.”

Since its start, the program has delivered more than 22,000 meals to 350 or more vulnerable seniors, who receive the nutritious entrees three time a week, said Lawlor.

The seniors, many of whom are living in subsidized and low-income housing, were identified as at-risk with the help of West Vancouver police, Vancouver Coastal Health, and BC Housing, according to the district.

Lawlor said she was grateful to receive the matching grant, noting it could provide up to $200,000 in total funding for West Vancouver’s vulnerable seniors for most of 2021.

“It provides us a year to create a sustainable funding model to ensure that we’re able to provide for meals for at-risk seniors for the future,” said Lawlor. “The people that are on this meal program are thriving.”

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