Our History

In 2001, our program was conceived and begun by single parents. These impoverished single parents wanted to become self-reliant, yet recognized that their greatest initial challenge was the chronic lack of healthy, nutritious food in their household.

After recognizing the high need, they formed a group called UsMoms (United Single Mothers Organic Market Support). The objective was to unite the talents, skills and ambitions of these single parents who were experiencing food insecurity into a concerted effort to get healthy food into their households.

They began sourcing donations of fresh, nutritional and organic foods from local businesses. Each week, they drove around picking up the food that was donated and then assembled food bins to be handed out.

The need for space to assemble the food bins became quite urgent. Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House was kind enough to provide a room within their community center space to allow the assembly of the food bins once a week for families. As more and more people heard of the program, the demand grew and so did the need for assistance to keep the program running. It was suggested that the group register as a non-profit organization to give the ability to apply for funding, and so UsMoms Community Projects Society was born.

 

 

Initially in 2001 -2002, UsMoms concentrated solely on getting donations of highly nutritious food to put into bins every week to give away for free to single parent families. The parent volunteers from UsMoms soon became proficient at packing and distributing 100’s of boxes of food every week.

Then in 2003 UsMoms progressed to putting on workshops for the parents to learn how to have an effective work ethic and also how to be effective working single parents. UsMoms also provided character building programs for the children during the summer months. This program ensured the children learned the basics for becoming self-reliant adults. UsMoms was determined to end poverty in this generation for the families. UsMoms was awarded a grant from the Margaret Mitchell Fund in 2002 to be able to put these workshops on. Homegrown Heroes was created to continue to support these children and their futures.

 

In 2003 – 2004 UsMoms began recognizing that 100’s of the families on their roster were victims of family violence who had to leave everything behind to be safe. These members are called “transition” families. These Transition Families have made the challenging choice to leave their homes (and often all of their possessions) and jobs behind to secure a safe future for the parent and the children. UsMoms began providing free clothing and household items, furniture and personal items to help these families start over.

Many of the children suffered extreme trauma from the situation. UsMoms Community Projects was determined to do everything they could to lessen these innocent children’s losses by providing toys, books, games, school supplies and whatever else they need to have to feel like they can someday learn to thrive. UsMoms provided a supportive environment that soon became a “safe place” for the family to participate in gaining a sense of permanent self-reliance that cannot be lost to family violence.

 

 

In 2003/2004, the Executive Director, Karen Sabourin, worked with key members of the community, including community organizations, local government and other prominent people, and together they formed the Food Policy Task Force which worked to establish The Vancouver Food Policy Council (VFPC).

 

As a result of the effectiveness of all of these programs, UsMoms won several prestigious community awards and garnered much positive media coverage for their successes. UsMoms earned the valued reputation amongst agencies, ministries and private societies as a reputable organization to refer their clients to. In the first 4 short years of relentless effort and compassion, the organization grew to support nearly 1000 families as of February 1, 2005, and 2500 families on their roster as of February 1, 2006.

 

Awards

First Place winner of the Outstanding Community Spirit Award – Sponsored by Scotiabank and the United Way of the Lower Mainland

Finalist for The Spirit of Vancouver Award – Sponsored by The Vancouver Board of Trade

First Place winner of Volunteer Vancouver’s Innovation Award – Sponsored by VanCity Credit Union

 

 

Featured

Vancouver Foundations Annual Report

 

Program Partners

Simon Fraser University

 

Links

Aug 2003 LMFC Policy Recommendations to the City of Vancouver