Gathering together to share a meal is healthy, grows friendships and builds stronger communities. Food is a powerful incentive for us all. How do we know this? We confirmed it! United Way of the Lower Mainland in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health conducted a qualitative research study to understand the role food plays in social support programs. Through interviews and focus groups conducted with service providers and program participants, we compiled a list of benefits that food plays above and beyond nutrition. Here are some of the roles that food plays above and beyond providing nutrition:
- Culture – Serves as a positive introduction to new cultures.
- Equity – Brings people together and removes barriers.
- Incentive – Encourages attendance and participation in programs.
- Social interaction – Fosters connections and bonding.
Read the full report here. United Way of the Lower Mainland invests in 22 food security programs that provide people access to healthy foods. As well, food is served during 250 other United Way-funded programs. In a year, over one million snacks or meals are served at programs funded by United Way.