Based on the resounding success of the Northumberland Eats food voucher pilot program launched at the end of 2020, Northumberland County and Northumberland United Way are pleased to announce that this pilot will transition to a permanent program for the community as of April 1, 2021. Designed to both enhance local food security as well as support local businesses, this pilot was introduced using provincial Social Services Relief Funding. Northumberland United Way will take on the administration of the permanent program, with pilot vouchers expiring on March 31, 2021, and red United Way vouchers being introduced as of April 1.
“Since December, vouchers have been distributed to over 1000 people and more than $35,000 has been invested into the local economy, making the impacts of this program far-reaching, as intended,” says County Director of Community and Social Services Lisa Horne. “19 businesses across six municipalities have stepped forward to participate – and this list continues to grow – with these partnerships increasing flexibility and choice for those needing food supports, such as local families, seniors, those experiencing a reduction in income during COVID-19, and those experiencing homelessness. We are so pleased that this innovative program will continue to be available to the community past the conclusion of the pilot phase. We are confident that Northumberland United Way will continue to grow this program and expand upon the benefits for the community already generated during the short pilot period.”
Local community agencies such as libraries, police services, mental health services, Children’s Aid, shelters and more will begin distributing new vouchers as of April 1, with the pilot vouchers (black coloured) no longer redeemable. Vouchers will continue to come in five- and ten-dollar denominations, with a QR Code on the back of each linking people with the most up-to-date list of participating establishments where the voucher can be redeemed. This list is also available at FoodHelpNorthumberland.cioc.ca.
“We are very excited to continue the momentum of this program well into the future,” says Bobbie Dawson, CEO, Northumberland United Way. “We have had a very positive response from community partners, small businesses, and residents in Northumberland County. It truly is a community-wide initiative with wide-ranging benefits..”
Businesses interested in participating in the Northumberland Eats program are invited to contact Northumberland United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.