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Good Food Box bulk buys to provide nutrition to all

Filling more than bellies

Tracey Prediger

Two days a month, All Saints Anglican Church is transformed into a food distribution hub.

The Good Food Box is a bulk buying community program Donna Antonishak helped bring to Vernon 23 years ago.

"As a nutritionist, I wanted to help people eat healthily, and when they didn’t have the funds or access to healthy things, that was the missing link," she says.

Antonishak teamed with Diane Flemming to duplicate a working model of Toronto's Good Food Box.

The pair found funding partners in the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, Land to Table Network, United Way and the Social Planning And Research Committee, which enabled them to grow their buying power.

"The need has just exploded," says Antonishak.

Small boxes sell for $12 and large boxes are $20. What’s inside is dependent on the season, availability and price point.

Buying a $25 "sustainability box" allows the five extra dollars to support the program.

At first, they would sell 200 boxes a month. Now, with rising food costs, it's well over 1,000. In the past two years alone, orders have jumped by 35%.

It's a program Antonishak knows fills more than empty bellies. Deliveries are made to seniors and people in isolation in six communities that surround Vernon. They include Enderby, Armstrong, Falkland, Westside, Lumby and Cherryville.

"People are seeing good food, receiving good food, receiving the sense of caring that goes behind it."

Helping more people may be one reason The Good Food Box was voted People’s Choice in the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

"To be recognized in the community for a lot of behind the scenes work as well as the commitment to the community is really heart warming really," says Antonishak.

She is quick to share the award with the program's volunteers, sponsors and supporters. Good Food Box itself has only one employee.

“We have a part-time staff person, and the rest are volunteers because that’s a lot of the cost in overhead, staffing … and we only do this once a month, so we don't have the carrying costs or the refrigeration costs."

The growing need means volunteers are always welcome. If you'd like to get involved, call 250-306-7800 or email the Good Food Box.



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