The Nelson Community Food Centre has launched a new campaign that will see all donations made to the center up to the end of October matched.
The Good Food for All campaign is a 100-day fundraising initiative that aims to help resolve some of the financial struggles the center has been experiencing.
The campaign idea came after the center received a $50,000 donation from a generous community member. The center decided to use it as a fundraising opportunity to double the donation and reach a target of $100,000.
During the fundraiser, any person or organization that donates will see it doubled, using funds from the $50,000 donation.
The Centre is one of many organizations experiencing financial difficulties as a result of inflation. In June it was forced to lay off some employees and cut operating hours back from two days a week to once every second Wednesday. It has also cut back on its regular food programs as it works towards solving its financial hardships.
The Centre is a non-for-profit organization that relies on donations and grants to operate. It provides food to 250 households weekly.
The decision to make cuts was partially a result of funding the center has relied on for years falling through.
Andrew Creighton, the interim executive director for the food center, says they hope through the Good Food for All campaign they can meet the $100,000 target which would resolve some of the cutbacks.
“The objective behind this fundraising campaign is to raise the money we need to get all of our programs up and running again,” he says
“When we realized we wouldn’t be getting funding from one of our regular core funders, it put us in a position where we didn’t have the kind of funding that we thought we had to run our programs. We’ve gone through a bit of a restructuring process and started throttling back on our programs.”
As part of the restructuring, the Food Centre’s harvest rescue program was modified to ten picks per year rather than 20. The food skills program which offers community members free cooking classes was also scaled back in order to honor commitments to people who were registered prior to the funding shortfall.
Creighton says by meeting the target of the Good Food for All campaign they can re-open the center to normal operating hours and resume programs at full capacity.
“$100,000 seems like a big amount, but it’s the kind of funding that we need to start thinking about restaffing and also to think about filling in our programs again. We’re still seeing a lot of need and a lot of folks, but we’re happy that we’re not turning anybody away.”
Despite its financial shortcomings, Creighton says they’ve received overwhelming support from the community and organizations, who have rallied together to help resolve challenges.
“We’re very lucky that we have support of the community. Inflation has hit everybody. By everybody, I mean our program participants, our staff, volunteers, board, me, you, everybody. However, inflation hasn’t really impacted our donations from individuals or organizations, and that’s a testament to the great little city we live in that people maintain their generosity and their awareness of important programs like ours and they just keep supporting us.”
The $50,000 donor who sparked the idea for the Good Food for All campaign is a volunteer who has seen the center’s struggles firsthand.
Creighton says the person’s generosity reinforces to him all the good the organization does for the community.
“To have someone who is a volunteer here who doesn’t appear to be particularly wealthy or showy in any way and who does fairly simple tasks like cleaning up and sweeping, give our organization a vote of confidence makes me happy and makes me realize what a good thing we have going here.”
Creighton says he has no doubt that the centre will reach its target by the time the fundraiser closes at the end of October.