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Remember those in need now, and during the rest of the year

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​Vancouver – With the December holidays around the corner, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is taking the opportunity to remind British Columbians that some BC households lack the financial means to buy healthy, safe, personally acceptable food.

“Not being able to afford nutritious food is stressful and impacts a person’s health and wellbeing in so many different ways,” said Melanie Kurrein, registered dietitian and provincial manager of food security with the Population and Public Health Program at the BCCDC. “Being food insecure isn’t because people don’t know how to budget or cook, or because food is too expensive, but because they don’t have enough money to buy the food they need.”

While donations are not the solution to food insecurity, reliance on food banks and charities is an emergency measure for some people. Individuals and organizations that choose to donate during the December holidays or anytime during the year should familiarize themselves with the types of food that are most in need.

Individual donors:

  • Canned or dried vegetables or fruit, including unsweetened sauces and purees
  • Canned fish and meat
  • Canned or dried beans and lentils
  • Whole grains, (e.g. rolled oats, brown or wild rice, quinoa)
  • Noodles or pasta, especially whole grain
  • 100% nut butters
Industry donors (all of the above, plus):

  • Fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh or frozen meat, poultry, fish or seafood
  • Eggs
  • Milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Prepared foods
All donors can also consider providing a monetary donation that will allow food banks or charities to buy fresh food such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products.

“If you choose to donate food, the key is to give the most needed and most nutritious items,” said Karen Rideout, environmental health policy analyst with the BCCDC. “Foods like candy, crackers, cookies or sugary drinks aren’t ideal because they have low nutritional value, and unpasteurized dairy products or home-canned vegetables and meat are considered high food safety risks and should not be given out.”

Learn More:

Last year, the BCCDC, along with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Food Banks BC and Metro Vancouver published two guideline documents to raise awareness of food insecurity, to support positive working relationships between donors and food distribution organizations, and to improve the quality and nutritional value of food donated to food distribution organizations.

The BC Centre for Disease Control, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides provincial and national leadership in public health through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services. The Centre provides both direct diagnostic and treatment services for people with diseases of public health importance and analytical and policy support to all levels of government and health authorities. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @CDCofBC. 

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.


Media Contact:
Ben Hadaway
Communications Officer
604-707-2412 or PHSA media line:
778. 867.7472

food access; food security
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