You’re helping Bethan heal
At 64, Bethan is vibrant and optimistic, despite the hardship and loss she’s experienced throughout her life. She didn’t always feel this way. Bethan went through some very hard times after her nephew was killed during active duty in Afghanistan, and then she lost both her parents in the two short years. Then, in February 2020, after working as a chef for over 30 years, Bethan had a stroke.
She hasn’t been able to work since. The days after that stroke was hard. Very hard. There were days when Bethan actually thought about giving up. Thankfully, Bethan was connected with a social worker who has been an amazing support for her. She connected Bethan to vital resources, including the Food Bank.
Bethan is so very grateful to have access to fresh and nutritious food through the Greater Vancouver Food Bank! She’s also grateful for you – and all our amazingly generous donors – who give so that she can get enough to eat. “I honestly don’t know where I’d be without people like you! You guys are heroes,” says Bethan. “I got eggs, I got milk, I got fruit. I got so many vegetables, I got onions. I said I was a chef so they gave me some different kinds of veggies to work with!”
Bethan is finally starting to feel better and is considering going back to work, but is also at risk for a massive stroke. She says, “I’m kind of scared to go back to work… but if I don’t then what’s more terrifying, being poverty-stricken and on the street, you know?” Being a chef is a very stressful job and puts Bethan even more at risk, so she’s considering taking a course to become a social worker instead.
When asked what she’d like to say to all our generous supporters, Bethan laughed and said, “I would love to just give them a big thank you and I would love to hug them all, but it’s Corona!” Thank you for giving people like Bethan a chance to heal, and continue to eat fresh, nutritious food!
Volunteer Profile: Brian Wu
When the pandemic hit BC in March, everyone was ordered to stay home. After two months of quarantine, Brian wanted to contribute to his community and decided to volunteer at the Food Bank.“I wanted to give back to the community because when you’re sitting alone in quarantine, you’ve got nothing to do, why not work at the Food Bank and have a purpose and serve the community?”
Brian is a second-year student at UBC who has been volunteering at our Burnaby distribution location since May 2020. He enjoyed his experience so much that he encouraged his cousins to volunteer as well!“
My favourite moments are when I’m distributing a certain type of food and the client’s eyes brighten up. They’ll say ‘oh, I love tomatoes!’ or ‘I love broccoli!’ and that brings so much joy to my heart.”
How you helped us launch a new children’s program
In November thanks to you, we launched our brand new children’s program created just for children age 6 to 12 – the Grade Schooler Pack! This is one of the three specialized monthly children’s programs we offer to our clients. Once we enhanced our Baby Steps (birth to age 2) and revolutionized the Preschooler Pack (age 3 to 5), our COO, Cynthia, knew that it was time to add in a third program.
We talked to a dietician and community groups who feed kids. We learned that not only do they need food for their lunch but after school as well. Some parents work in the evenings which means kids need to prepare their own dinner or snacks. Now that they are getting to the age where they can feed themselves, we graduated into new sets of food items where they can easily put together a simple, healthy meal. The Grade Schooler pack has 3 menus and one of the menus includes Annie’s Mac and Cheese, a healthy cereal, tzatziki and cucumbers, and more.
By launching this program our goal is to help kids to develop the habit of eating healthy and to make sure no kids go to school or come home hungry. In November, we distributed Grade Schooler Packs to 586 kids. Thank you for being there for us – so we can be there to feed kids in your community.
You feed women and children fleeing domestic violence
SAGE Transition House is there for women and children fleeing domestic violence, who need a safe, short-term stay. And, thanks to you, the Food Bank is there for the women and children who stay at SAGE. Froozan, the program coordinator at SAGE, says she’s seen a noticeable increase over the last 10 years in the amount of healthy food they receive from the GVFB. Most of the non-perishable items that SAGE receives from the Food Bank are saved for when the women and children leave.“
When the residents are ready to move out, they are so stressed out about the move itself… food always seems to be the last thing they think of,” Froozan says. “Now we can offer them food from the food pantry so that for the first little while they have food in the house.” Thank you for giving women and children fleeing domestic violence the fresh and nutritious food they need to stay strong.