An Emergency Food Access Task Force is now at work in the Cowichan Valley to ensure no one goes without food during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cowichan Green Community was asked by the City of Duncan to help launch the task force in response to the impact COVID-19 is having on the emergency food supply in the Cowichan region.

Executive director Judy Stafford says many local groups, including the Cowichan Valley Basket Society, Warmland House, Social Planning Cowichan, Volunteer Cowichan, StarFish BackPack, Nourish Cowichan, Cowichan Seniors Community Foundation, Ladysmith Resource Centre, Salvation Army, the City of Duncan, and the Cowichan Valley School District, among others, are represented on this ‘virtual’ task force.

CGC is offering free weekly food coupons through its reFRESH Marketplace grocery store and free grocery delivery.

They are accepting donations to expand this to more families and seniors and people can contact CGC if they want to apply to the program or sponsor someone in need. She says they’re reaching out to the community for donations and support.

Stafford says they’re also working with school principals to identify families in need. She says they’re reaching out to the community for donations and support.

Stafford says Cowichan Green has cut back on volunteers during the COVID-19 crisis but is still helping meet the needs of the community.

She says they are still “picking up a significant amount of food” and are not as many service providers to deliver it to. Stafford says they will be seeing an increase in their kitchen to “try and process that food and make it into meals that can then be delivered to other agencies” that cannot make that food right now.

Stafford says with the recently “reduced capacity of the food banks and other services in Cowichan, enacting an alternative emergency food system is our priority.”