The Nourish Cowichan Society is celebrating the fifth anniversary of receiving its official designation as a charity on March 15, 2017.
The organization had been launched in the fall of 2016 with the goal of reducing food insecurity in the Cowichan Valley.
Founder and executive Fatima Da Silva says they wanted to help children get the proper nutrition they needed to have an equal chance to do as well as other students in school.
“What we are trying to do is give them an equal opportunity for the students to be present in school, indeed have the ability to learn like any other child”
Da Silva says over the past five years they’ve gone from making about two-thousand breakfasts a week to more than six-thousand breakfasts or lunches.
The COVID pandemic prompted Nourish to evolve and the program provides breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to students that otherwise would not have a meal.
A weekend grocery bag is also available to students that require more help.
Before the pandemic, the annual expenses were at $180,000 each year, but that has now risen over $600,000 annually.
Since 2017, Nourish Cowichan has raised more than $2,500.000.
Da Silva says they are immensely grateful for the community support.
“We can’t put in words how grateful we are to the community.”
Nourish Cowichan currently has about 45 volunteers that help the organization in different capacities.