At the beginning of the pandemic, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank saw a 20% increase in new clients. However, as Dr. Bonnie Henry tightens up the provincial COVID-19 restrictions throughout the months, there was a shift in the number of client visits. We noticed fewer seniors and families with young children came to visit us. Nevertheless, we have been distributing more food per person at our distribution sites and our Community Agency Partner locations – about 16.25lbs per person per week! Amazon Canada’s $150,000 donation helped us tremendously in operating efficiently, and getting more food out to our communities.
With many Canadians facing an urgent hunger crisis as a result of COVID-19, Amazon Canada has donated a total of $2.3M to Food Banks and hunger relief organizations across the country.
“Amazon has a longstanding commitment to finding innovative, impactful solutions to fight hunger where our customers and employees live and work,” said Vibhore Arora, Regional Operations Manager at Amazon Canada. “We support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank’s important mission, and they can count on us to step up whenever our help is needed.”
Amazon Canada tasked us to spend the $150,000 on the areas where we need the most. This inspired us to be creative! We ended up spending a portion of the donation on purchasing fresh food to distribute to our clients and community agency partners.
The other large portion of the donation went to support our operational needs (i.e. maintaining our fleet of trucks, warehouse staff, equipment and operations, food distribution staff and operations) so we can operate as sustainably as we can. Did you know it takes at least 1 driver, 5 distribution staff, 20+ volunteers, and many hours of warehousing work in the background to prepare for and run one distribution shift at one location? Then we clean up and get ready for the next day, 4 days a week, at 4 locations, supporting more than 1,000 lives every day. Not to mention the time and resources we spend to support our 80+ community agency partners as well. And this is just our focus on outbound food; inbound food (purchases and donation pick-ups) requires another set of people and resources, each day.
Recently, Amazon Canada reached out to us again asking if we can use more funding – we were ecstatic to hear from them! To prepare for the opening of our Thornton St. location in Vancouver in the Spring of 2021, Amazon Canada is donating another $30,000 for us to buy four electric pallet jacks with a mast lift. The electric pallet jacks make our work so much more efficient, both from an effort and a time perspective, our staff are thrilled and so grateful.
These are just some of the ways you can help support the Food Bank! Many people don’t know the complicated work we do in the background to provide healthy food to those in need each day. Thank you so much to the Amazon Canada team for your support during the pandemic!