David and Laura Laing of People Power are looking to raise the bar by donating vegetables to more South Cariboo families in 2020.
The fresh initiative Bag of Plenty provides low-income families and individuals in the South Cariboo with a free, weekly bag of locally grown vegetables at the Horse Lake Community Farm Co-op.
The diligent duo started the initiative with four families and it grew to seven.
“I don’t think we had any set expectations, but it turned out great,” said Laing. “What I wasn’t expecting is how it made me feel over the course of the summer and to be able to do this for people. When we wrapped the season up, I felt like I had received the greater gift, really.”
Their goal is to now help 40 families or individuals in 2020.
“We want to help more people and if we can raise enough money, we will be able to do it.”
How it works: each household will receive at least $20 worth of vegetables, each week for a total of 14 weeks, during the growing season. While $20 of vegetables may not seem like a lot of food, to some, it is, like the single mother who Laing delivered a bag of vegetables to each week.
“She repeatedly told me how grateful she was for those vegetables,” said Laing. “Her children would come to the door and they were so excited. It seemed like the bag of vegetables that arrived each Tuesday was such a highlight for them.”
Organic vegetables sold in grocery stores can be expensive, according to Laing.
“We aren’t certified as organic but everything is grown organically, it’s as fresh as it gets,” said Laing. “Not everybody can afford grocery store prices.”
The Laings are seeking support from the community to help make their goal achievable. A family or individual can be sponsored for $280, which is below the average budget for a Canadian household, according to Statistics Canada. Laing said any denomination of a donation can go a long way.
“People can choose the family or individual they want to sponsor or we can select someone from our list,” said Laing. “We have already started to compile the list.”
All of the proceeds raised through fundraising efforts will go back into the program – equipment, seeds and general operating costs.
While the community has access to local food banks, Laing said there are still people who can’t access them.
“The food banks are doing a fantastic job and we are trying to supplement what they are doing,” said Laing. “Not everyone can make it there, say because of a disability, so we will personally drop the food off if needed.”
People Power was able to register as a society over the summer. It is now operated by a board of directors, consisting of five members.
Laing said they are looking to roll out with the program again come June.
“There is so much need out there and I wasn’t aware of it until I really started looking.”
For more information about the program, to donate or to apply contact the Laings at 250-397-2852.