Tiny Bundles food bank program offers lifeline for new moms and babies in Surrey
'I would be struggling' without it, says one mom who uses the program
Nearly every segment of society in British Columbia is affected by food insecurity — including the province's youngest residents. One program at the Surrey Food Bank is trying to provide support for those infants and their parents.
The program, called Tiny Bundles, is a lifeline for one single mom, Lindsay, whose last name CBC News has agreed to withhold. Lindsay has two children, one who is 3½ and one who is six months old.
"Unfortunately, I'm only on welfare so I have to go to the food bank to make sure both my young children have food every day and healthy stuff as well," she said.
Every week, in addition to getting a full hamper of food for herself and her son, Lindsay gets specific items for her baby.
"We get the formula. Every week we get one, and it lasts a week. So that's money I don't have to spend," she said, adding formula is "really expensive."
"Now that she's six months, they're giving the jar food and the cereal, so she's set to go."
Advocates across the country say children are increasingly at risk of food insecurity as parents who were already living paycheque-to-paycheque lost jobs, fell ill or had to self-isolate because of COVID-19. Many support services reported an increase in families accessing their services this year.
Feezah Jaffer, the executive director of the Surrey Food Bank, says the Tiny Bundles program is unique as it is specifically tailored to pregnant moms and infant children.
"We provide milk and eggs for pregnant and nursing moms, formula, diapers, baby items, food, wipes, things like that," said Jaffer.
Jaffer says the program has run smoothly thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers from the Tzu Chi Buddhist Society, who have worked with the program for 14 years.
"They're so helpful. They're so accommodating," she said. "They go above and beyond. They have been instrumental in the success of the Tiny Bundles program."
For Lindsay, the program has proven to be a lifeline during a difficult time.
"[Without it] I would be struggling — very, very much so," she said.
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