Charity Intelligence aims to provide Canadian donors with information to help them make informed and intelligent giving decisions about where their donations will have the greatest impact. Charity Intelligence rates charities on financial transparency, funding needs, cost-efficiency and donor accountability. The following information is a summary of the items upon which the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is assessed.
In Canada, more than one in eight individuals experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is described as the inability to acquire or consume an adequate diet quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so. Experiencing food insecurity at an early age is associated with poorer overall physical and mental health.
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank was set up as a temporary relief to the hunger crisis in 1983 and has grown significantly in the past three decades. Today the GVFB provides assistance to over 28,000 people weekly, 25% of whom are children.
We meet community need through multiple distribution locations including Community Food Hubs, community kitchens, food skills training workshops and partnerships with over 75 Community Partner Agencies located in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and North Vancouver.
The GVFB receives, purchases and distributes approximately 4.2 million pounds of food each year. Our size, scale, and unique position in the local food system, and partnerships with producers and industry enables us to purchase $3 worth of food for every $1 donated. This buying power allows us to maximize the impact of our donor’s generous contributions.
While we continue to provide assistance to help address the immediate needs of our community, we also recognize that emergency food as a stand-alone is not a long-term solution. In 2013, we completed the organization’s first strategic plan and are moving beyond food in isolation into a model that helps foster a path towards self-sufficiency. Our goal is to build strong connected communities through the power of food because food is a basic human right.
Fiscal Year July 1-June 30, 2019
Food Procurement & Distribution
Outputs- Thanks to our relationships with food retailers and producers, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank re-distributes perishable and non-perishable food items with food quality measured at 74% based on rankings established by a registered dietitian in accordance with guidelines set out by BC School Food Guidelines to Community Food Hubs and Agencies.
Outcomes- Thanks to the increase in food quality and specifically non-perishable food items from industry partners, surplus food is being diverted from compost and meeting and exceeding agency needs. In addition, agencies are reporting improvements in mental and physical health of their clients and participants along with an increased sense of dignity.
Food Quality Ranking and Definitions
First Choice– Nutritious foods and beverages that meet strong nutrition criteria with minimal ingredients such as fresh produce, brown rice, 100% natural peanut butter, milk, lean meats and eggs. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank prioritizes foods in this category.
Second Choice– Nutritious foods and beverages that are promoted at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank such as pasta, white rice, no salt added canned beans, fruits and vegetables, low salt canned fish and meats. Food categories with more prepared foods have reasonably strong, instead of very strong nutrition criteria.
Sometimes Choice– Foods and beverages with the highest fat, sodium, or sugar to eat in a healthy relationship with other food such as pasta sauce, fruit juice, granola bars and white bread. GVFB does not encourage food donations in this ranking.
Other Choice– Foods and beverages with the highest fat, sodium, or sugar to eat in a healthy relationship with other food such as candy, pop, instant noodles, canned soup, deli meats. GVFB does not encourage food donations in this ranking.
Unranked Items– Household items, such as toiletries and plastic bags, and food not meant for human consumption, such as pet food.
Community Food Hubs
Community Food Hubs provide direct access to grocery items for upwards of 8,200 low income households every week. GVFB volunteers and staff aim to provide a dignified, choice-focused, community-based market-style shopping experience. In partnership with organizations across the Greater Vancouver area, the GFVB serves approximately 60,000 lbs of food weekly, except government cheque issue week. Community Food Hubs aim to cater to the unique needs of the communities in which they are situated.
Outputs– Registered food bank members have direct access to a 2-3 day supplement of perishable and non-perishable food items. Food is provided through Community Food Hubs located across our catchment cities three weeks per month to individuals and families. Food Bank members receive 4-5 fresh food items in addition to 7-8 non-perishable items based on the size of their family. The Community Food Hubs also provide non-food items such as diapers and depending on the location auxiliary resources like registered dietitians, library representatives and food skills training.
Outcomes- Relieving food insecurity and providing quality food support in a dignified, choice-focused environment. Connecting food bank members with their community in turn working towards our goal of building strong connected communities through the power of food.
“What I appreciate the most is how welcoming the volunteers are.”
“Thanks very much to give time to explain my opinion and it is helpful food bank for me.”
An Agency Partner is a community organization located in the Greater Vancouver Food Bank catchment areas of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. These agencies receive food and non-food items and training support through our basic pantry and warehouse programs.
Outputs- Perishable and non-perishable food, kitchen equipment and training is supplied to organizations to support meal, snack and grocery supplementation programming.
Outcomes – Provide organizations with high-quality, fresh and perishable food items to support food-based programming allowing agencies to focus resources on staffing and core programs rather than sourcing and paying food items.
Thanks to the increase in food quality and specifically non-perishable food items from industry partners, surplus food is being diverted from compost and meeting and exceeding agency needs. In addition, agencies are reporting improvements in mental and physical health of their clients and participants along with an increased sense of dignity.
Experience with food security is being addressed, although not solved.
“The program leaders have noticed a huge behavioural change taking place since fresh fruits and veg, yogurt, cheese and meats were introduced. The usual spike in energy followed by lethargy is now a much more sustained level of energy thanks to less sugary snacks and more whole foods. Ability to focus on homework and activities has improved.” Gillian and Gavin, After School Program, Hastings Elementary School
Food Skills and Education
We recognize that handing out food in isolation is not a long term solution and so have developed a collaborative, community-focused model of training that can start to address some of the long term challenges that many of us face.
Building food skills and starting conversations around food is a major part of this strategy. We run a range of workshops that focus on:
Outputs- Community Kitchens, food demonstrations and a variety of workshops facilitated by Greater Vancouver Food Bank staff both onsite and off to promote capacity building, confidence with food and job ready skills.
Outcomes- Food education workshop attendees report the ability to successfully apply for food-relation employment, to feed their families on a budget with food distributed from food bank Community Food Hubs, and increased sense of community by sharing and learning in a dignified, barrier-free environment.
” We are so happy to receive your E-mail and we like the pictures sent very much.
Yesterday was the best day of our living in Vancouver.
Everything was excellent! Bakery is really an art and craftsmanship we are interest in.
Thank you very much again. We are looking forward to seeing you next time.” GVFB member after attending a Baking 101 Workshop
Milestones for the Future
- We provide food to folks who can’t afford to access healthy food elsewhere. We have a responsibility to provide the healthiest food possible to a population of individuals who experience higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, anxiety and heart disease. We The GVFB aims to ensure our high standard for accepting and distributing nutritious, perishable and non-perishable food never dips below 70% food quality and will strive to increase beyond the current food quality measure of 75%.
- We would like to increase the number of community partner agencies the GVFB supports from 76-90 agencies in fiscal 2020.
- We will aim to improve access to direct food support to clients at our Community Food Hubs by increasing the number of hours and shifting the times of days to better meet the needs of working individuals and others based on client feedback.