To support vulnerable British Columbians during the COVID-19 crisis, the Province is providing a $3-million emergency grant from the Community Gaming Grants program to Food Banks British Columbia.

Image of shelves with different grocery products in the supermarket

Food Banks British Columbia will distribute the money among food banks provincewide to support their immediate needs to buy and distribute food, pay employees and cover other costs essential to the delivery of their food programs. Food Banks BC was selected to distribute the funding because of its expertise in management of food distribution.

“We know that many British Columbia families count on food banks to supplement their weekly grocery needs. To help ensure that people continue to have access to the food they need, our government is taking steps by supporting B.C. food banks so they can, in turn, keep meeting the needs of the people in the communities they serve,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction. “Using funds from the gaming grants program is an example of how government and non-profit partners are working together to respond to the evolving nature of the pandemic, easing the burden on B.C.’s food banks and helping people who are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Food Banks BC will assess the needs and requirements of food banks to determine the amount and timing of the distribution. Funds will be distributed quickly and equitably to food banks across all regions of the province. 

“British Columbia’s not-for-profit food banks provide a critical service for vulnerable people in our communities, especially during this most challenging time. During times like these, we need to help each other as much as possible. This community gaming grant will help relieve hunger and provide support for the people in our province who need it most.” – Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The $3-million grant uses funding that remained in the Community Gaming Grant’s 2019-20 budget of $140 million after all 2019 community gaming grants had been awarded to or approved for eligible organizations.

“This grant will make a tremendous impact in communities all over B.C. and ensure that food banks can keep their doors open and continue to meet the needs of the vulnerable, who particularly need their assistance at this time,” said Laura Lansink, executive director, Food Banks BC. “We sincerely thank the Province for this encouraging and vital assistance to Food Banks BC.”

The grant to Food Banks BC is in alignment with the ministerial order issued March 26, 2020, under the Emergency Program Act, to protect B.C.’s most vulnerable, making it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.

In response to concerns raised by food banks about capacity to respond to the urgent need in their communities, the order removes barriers to business to allow: drive-through and delivery opportunities, larger hampers, increased home delivery capability and removes the requirement to present identification. These measures will make it easier for food banks to operate in this challenging time when more people are using their services.

This is one in a series of ministerial orders to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial emergency.

These latest steps are part of government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.

Quick Facts:

  • Food Banks BC is B.C.’s provincial association of food banks that represents and supports food banks across the province.
  • Every year, commercial gaming generates revenue that the Government of B.C. invests in key services.
    • These investments support organizations in the areas of health care and education, arts and culture groups, sports, environment, public safety, human and social services, as well as parent advisory councils in schools throughout B.C.
  • Up to $140 million of the revenue generated is directed into the community through the Community Gaming Grants program that supports about 5,000 community organizations each year.

Learn More:

Food Banks BC:

Community Gaming Grants:

State of Provincial Emergency:

B.C.’s COVID Action Plan and other government resources and updates: