Boothroyd is a semi remote community in the Fraser Canyon. Local stores have limited supplies of meat which is very expensive. The Chief and Council has allotted $200 per household for community members living on- and off-reserve. Our Band purchased $200 Save-On-Foods gift cards per household for members living off-reserve. Community members living on-reserve have the option to purchase meat from a wholesaler or receive a Save-On-Foods gift card.
The Band reached out to a couple of farmers to purchase beef at wholesale cost and ordered non-perishable products from a neighbouring community. Also, we purchased hand sanitizer, vitamin C, and traditional medicines from a local health food store. Two ladies made traditional medicines.
This wise practices addresses the lack of affordable food in stores in Hope, Agassiz and Chilliwack for Boothroyd community members living on- and off-reserve. The Council agreed to use the Gaming Fund Grant to purchase the gift cards and food. This initiative has been a collaborative effort between the Health Director, Housing Officer, and three Council members. Due to staffing shortages, organizing this initiative has been very demanding and time-consuming.
The key benefit is that families have food on the table. It raised awareness of the importance of food security and food sovereignty. We used our Facebook page to encourage families to purchase seeds and some have now started their own garden. Our Band also has a greenhouse for membership to use. For others considering an initiative like this, we would suggest maintaining a list of community volunteers to alleviate workload and time pressures when short-staffed during a crisis.