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Household food insecurity and COVID-19: Northern communities step up


Graphic showing a coronavirus image and a full grocery cart
Household food insecurity exists when a household does not have enough money to purchase food.

Does COVID-19 make you worry that members of your community cannot access enough food? Household food insecurity is complex and so are the solutions needed to address it. Fortunately, food programs across Northern BC can offer emergency support during times of crisis.

What is household food insecurity?

Simply, food insecurity exists when a household does not have enough money to purchase food. It’s an income-based issue that requires income-based solutions and was an issue long before COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, healthy food was hard to afford for people who earn minimum wage, or are living on income assistance. People with low incomes have to choose between putting a roof over their head and putting food on the table. In other words, food is available but there isn’t enough money buy it. This issue has gotten worse, because many people are out of work or had their work hours affected due to COVID-19. 

How can we reduce household food insecurity?

The key to solving household food insecurity is to ensure that everyone has a consistent and guaranteed income that is adequate.

This means that all people need to have enough money to buy healthy food after covering basic needs, including rent, utilities, clothing, and transportation.   

We can do this with policies like comprehensive poverty reduction strategies that explore the idea of basic income, and a Canada Food Policy that includes everyone.

Emergency Food Program Inventory

While food programs are not a long-term solution to household food insecurity, they can offer support to people during emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March, Northern BC communities have stepped up to help people across the region access food.

With the help of community food programs, a regional inventory of emergency food assets has been created.

The information available in the inventory includes:

  • The community where the program is located
  • The name of the program
  • Schedule (hours, days open, etc.)
  • Who the program is for (most are for anyone, but some have specific requirements)
  • Services currently provided
  • Any items and supports the program may need
  • Contact information

Where can you access the inventory?

The inventory is found on the Northern Health website.

A big thanks goes out to all the fantastic food organizations and programs that have come together to support their communities during this time. Now let’s work together to ensure that all people have adequate incomes to support a healthy diet.

Learn more about household food insecurity

Additional information on COVID-19 and food insecurity

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