Based on our food bank demographic trends, seniors living in our community have become increasingly at risk of experiencing food insecurity and malnutrition. The number of senior clients we supported was at an all-time high in 2019 but has since dropped due to the pandemic. Currently, 17% of the clients we support are seniors, with many associating their need for food with a low fixed income and the high cost of living.
We addressed these numbers by creating a nutrition program specifically curated to meet their health needs and taking on Community Agency Partners that catered toward senior health and empowerment, such as PAL Vancouver.
PAL Vancouver’s mission is to provide long-standing members of Metro Vancouver’s performing arts professions with affordable housing in a vibrant and creative community setting. PAL Vancouver became an official registered charity in 2004 and has since grown to support over 130 residents.
They offer so much more than social housing – they provide residents with both a safe, affordable home, and a supportive dynamic environment where they can stay active and creatively engage in the community.
“It’s more than staying busy; we provide them with the creative resources that give them a newfound purpose,” shares Marina, the Communications Manager at PAL Vancouver. “Many of our residents have found other passions and careers since retiring. For example, a current resident, Melinda, has taken up painting and even sells her artwork!”
Each floor of PAL Vancouver is beautifully adorned with artwork and posters that reflect the vibrant personalities of the residents. With the support from staff, residents can build their own sense of community however they please – whether through the shared love of theatre in their infamous in-house studio theatre or the love of gardening in their beautiful rooftop garden overlooking the downtown core.
Since partnering with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank in July 2021, PAL Vancouver started to provide a monthly food distribution to around 30 residents in need of food support.
“We have a senior resident who is finally able to get his dental work done because he no longer needs to allocate his small budget towards food!” shares Lynn Ross, Executive Director at PAL Vancouver. “As most of our residents are seniors on fixed income/government assistance, nutritious food is vital to their health and overall well-being.”
“This program has had a powerful and positive impact on me,” shares a PAL Vancouver resident. “Many times during COVID I felt very disconnected and alone. Providing basic food in a reliable way makes me feel connected again. Supplying food is a very basic way of taking care of people and it is so reassuring to experience this.”
PAL Vancouver is part of our Fresh Market Program, meaning they receive dry shelf staples and the case, and they shop for fresh produce and protein every week.
“The easy-to-prepare meals are a great help to the seniors, and they love the high-protein items such as canned fish, eggs, and meats!” says Marina.
Items left over from the food distribution go towards their Soup Social Night – a weekly event currently organized entirely by two amazing residents, Moira and Bonnie. Soup Social Night was founded 12 years ago by Moira and her late husband Frank and has been a highly anticipated event for residents every Monday. From chicken noodle soup to famous homemade chili, they cook nourishing meals made with love, passion, and soul. Over the years, they’ve created a tight-knit community bonding over the love of delicious homemade soup and good company.
Senior health goes above and beyond providing proper nutrition, and we are proud to have an incredible partner like PAL Vancouver to provide purpose, fulfillment, and a loving support system.