Spring Newsletter | 2020

In this issue:

It’s a challenging time for us all. Social distancing restrictions have placed an immense burden on so many people living across Greater Vancouver.

Thankfully, people like you are stepping up to show you care.

Your generosity provides one of the most essential needs — fresh, healthy food. Plus, you give people a much-needed moment of human connection during this time when we are all feeling so isolated and alone.

So much has changed in such a short time. That’s why I’m pleased to share a special newsletter focused on how your generous support of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is making a difference during the coronavirus pandemic.

With your help, we’re adapting to continue providing more food to people in need than ever before as the numbers we serve keeps growing each week.

I do hope you’ll take a moment to read your newsletter. You can feel a sense of pride knowing you are directly helping both individuals and families in desperate need during this difficult time.

I feel so much pride to live here in Greater Vancouver, amongst generous friends like you, who clearly care deeply about your fellow human beings.

I believe that, together, we can make it through this crisis and come out stronger on the other side.

 

Your Coronavirus Update: Your Gifts in Action!

Food Bank Staff

There has been a tremendous amount of change over the past couple of months in the way we distribute food to those in need.

Here’s a brief update on some of the changes you’ve helped us navigate: When this crisis began, our food distribution hubs — neighbourhood houses, community centres, churches, etc. — were shut down due to social distancing restrictions. At the same time, we saw a big drop in the number of volunteers who sort and pack food and help with distribution.

We immediately responded by securing several emergency distribution points. These were located either directly outside of our closed food hubs or as close as possible to them in a space where truck access and distribution was possible.

While our normal market-style model of food distribution was not possible, our Food Bank staff supported by a new wave of volunteers stepped up to pack bags. Together we packed 8,000 food bags that could be quickly handed out at these locations!

We now have five food distribution points across our four cities, with extended access hours. Where possible, we’ve moved away from the pre-bagged allotments and are distributing essential food items such as milk, eggs, fresh greens and fruit, rice, pasta, onions, potatoes and bread. We also have many donated additions to our regular menus such as yogurt, proteins such as chicken and ground beef, and some pre-prepared meals that our clients love.

We have also added a ‘Fresh Week’ at our Winston Street warehouse with a large supply of perishable food available to our clients during what is normally a closure week for all our sites. We launched this in April and our clients had access to a beautiful selection of fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy products.

We have started to see the increase in new client registrations that we have been expecting. 80% of these new clients name the coronavirus as the reason for their visit. During April alone, we had more than 734 new client registrations. It’s likely the need will continue increasing for some time, which is why we are so very grateful to have generous friends like you by our side.

 

Coming Together to Help Community Partners

Burnaby Warehouse

A lesser known service of the Food Bank is that we also support the food needs of 80+ Community Agency Partners (CAPs) including housing agencies, neighbourhood houses, community kitchen groups, women and children’s shelters, First Nations centres, settlement service providers, and others — serving populations that may not be able to access the Food Bank directly and who have very unique needs.

Our CAPs have seen significant increases in demand for food services. Plus, many are experiencing diminished support from their own supply chains and donors. With your continued help, the Food Bank is working to ensure they have the food to meet their modified needs and that it is of the highest possible quality. We have even been able to support a few new partners including seniors’ centres and neighbourhood houses during this crisis.

We are also responding to additional requests from new organizations seeing increased need from their clients. Many are doing their best to replace food programs that are not available or accessible to at-risk, elderly or immunocompromised clients, and we are thrilled to be supporting new senior’s centres and neighbourhood houses, as an example.

As you can imagine, all of this adds up to a substantially increased need for food across Greater Vancouver. And, with your support, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure this need is met.

Thank you so much for coming together to keep hungry men, women and children fed during this difficult time. We don’t know how long this situation is going to last, but we know that with you by our side, we’ll continue to be there for as long as it takes.

 

Community Partners Thank You!

“There has been a lot of anxiety lately about where people are going to get their needs met because routines and familiar spaces are interrupted right now. Having access to some food really helps people take a major concern off their list for a little while and reminds people that there still are supports available and they aren’t alone. Thank you!”

— Alix Logie, MSW RSW, Social Worker
Assertive Community Treatment

“The level of fresh and frozen product received by our location from the Greater Vancouver Food Bank has made an incredible difference to what we are able to provide to our participants. Meeting all current protocols, we are operating out of a modified trailer that has 6 to 8 volunteers filling orders for each participant, with the completed order being brought outside the building for pick up. Regular comments are coming to us about the level of good food that is being distributed. On behalf of the participants, volunteers and staff here at the Sunshine Coast Community Services Society I offer thanks to the effort put in by everyone to make sure those in need are looked after. Together we will get through this situation.”

—Norm Blair, Food Security Lead
Sunshine Coast Food Bank

 

New Locations & Hours

Please visit foodbank.bc.ca/find-food/locations/ for the most up to date locations and hours.

  • Burnaby – GVFB Head Office, 8345 Winston Street
    Tuesday through Friday 10 am – 2 pm
  • New Westminster – Moody Park Arena, 701 8th Avenue
    Thursday 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Vancouver – Mount Pleasant Community Centre, 1 Kingsway
    Thursday & Friday 10 am – 2 pm
  • Vancouver – Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St
    Tuesday & Wednesday 10 am – 2 pm (until June 30)
  • North Vancouver – North Shore Community House, 225 East 2nd
    Wednesday 4 pm – 6 pm

 

How to host a Virtual Food Drive

Virtual Food Drive Another wonderful way you can help is to host a Virtual Food Drive. A Virtual Food Drive is a simple, fun and secure way to fundraise online with your friends, family and colleagues. Donate through our virtual shopping experience and allow us to purchase healthy and fresh food for our clients. Join up and start the fun — visit vfd.foodbank.bc.ca or contact [email protected] for more information. And remember for every $1 you raise we can purchase $3 of local, fresh and healthy food for people in need.

 

Canadian Free Wills Network

Great news! Food Bank supporters, aged 55 or over, can have their Will written or updated free of charge.

It’s simple—here’s how:

  • Let us know you’re interested in the program.
  • You’ll receive a package with a list of participating lawyers in your area and the terms and conditions of the program and confidential declaration form.
  • You select a lawyer and arrange for an appointment.

There’s no obligation for you to include a gift to any charity in your will — although we’d be thrilled for you to include us!

Confidential contact:
Greater Vancouver Food Bank
Greg Douglas
[email protected] | 604-314-6980