Together Galiano Eats

August 7, 2020 / by United Way

When they were hit hardest, your donations allowed Galiano Seniors to eat

When COVID-19 hit, many already isolated and vulnerable populations were left even more so. For seniors like Carol that meant an inability to get all of the meals she needed.

“If it wasn’t for Together, Galiano Eats I would not have had food waiting for me when I came back from Ontario in March and was in self-isolation for two weeks,” said Carol, who has volunteered with the Galiano Club for many years. “Since then I have been able to order good, nutritious meals that are delivered once a week.”

Carol has felt the impact of the Together, Galiano Eats program deeply.

“Most recently eating at their games nights and going to the Monday soup program, has been most impactful for me. Where I not only have soup for lunch but also pick up frozen soup and meals at a reasonable price. Since COVID-19 there has been no soup program.”

Like a lot of community programs, COVID-19 has had a big impact and has meant that the Galiano Club has needed to change how they do things.

“COVID-19 significantly impacted the Food Program,” said President of the Board of the Galiano Club, Judy Hayes. “A large part of the Food Program consisted of well-attended community events – a weekly soup and bread lunch, including school lunches those days, a monthly games night and special events such as Nettlefest. These events had to be cancelled and they raised money to help fund the Food Program.”

As these events show, the Food program is about so much more than just meals. The program also provides a critically important social connection to seniors.

Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a wide range of physical and mental conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, and cognitive decline. Many seniors in our community experience extreme loneliness and isolation coupled with malnutrition or food insecurity. The Galiano Club’s Food Program does it’s best to tackle all of these issues.

“Our staff adapted quickly (to COVID-19) and by the third week in March had set up a system to deliver weekly hampers to those in isolation or quarantine, regular users of the Food Bank and seniors,” said Hayes.

Funding, made possible through United Way’s Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund and the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program has enabled the Galiano Club to purchase food for both the frozen meals for seniors and for the food bank. Additionally, they will use funds to pay staff salaries, package the frozen meals and for necessities like propane for their kitchen.

“Thank you to all the donors for your help. Galiano may appear to be an affluent island but the median income of permanent residents is well below the provincial average,” said Hayes. “Many residents are dependent on the service industry, so they were significantly impacted. The ability to provide grocery hampers and frozen meals weekly has been described as ‘a lifeline.’”