Burnaby, BC – A good news story in the middle of a pandemic: thanks to our donors, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) has made several positive changes at a time when our clients need our support the most.
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) is committed to providing healthy food to those in need across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. We support 8,500 people each month through our direct distribution, and another 14,000+ people through our 100 community agency partners.
Throughout the pandemic, we have been working hard to find ways to provide more food to those in need. We are distributing 150,000 – 200,000+ lbs more nutritious food each month in our communities now compared to 2019/2020.
- More Food, Better Food
2-3 years ago the GVFB was distributing 6 to 8 items/week, with a jar of peanut butter or a can of tuna as the main source of protein. Now, we are proud to distribute 10-15 items each week, with multiple perishable and non-perishable sources of protein! Thanks to our donors’ generosity we have been able to increase the number of items we provide to single clients, couples and families. We can also purchase more nutritious, protein rich foods which cost a bit more, including mixed entrees like chili, baked beans and healthy soups. This translates into an average of 30lbs of food for a single client each week, with half of that comprised of fresh food!
2. Improving Nutrition for Babies
After refreshing our Preschooler Packs and launching our new Grade Schooler Packs, we have recently enhanced our Baby Steps program (birth – 24 months). Starting in April, our clients will receive a nutritionally enriched menu for their babies from 13 to 24 months old, with a selection of both fresh and non-perishable “First Foods” to support their development (i.e. cheese, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, homogenized milk, and age-appropriate fruits and vegetables). We have also added Cheerios and baby-friendly biscuits to the existing menu for our youngest clients, those in their very first year.
Saeid is a GVFB client with three children – his youngest son is 13 months old. “I really appreciate the baby formula and diapers I receive from the GVFB. My family recently moved to Vancouver from Turkey and it’s been hard settling down. But I’m so thankful for the food support so I can make sure I have food for my baby son every single day,” Saeid said.
3. Increased Food Access in Vancouver to Meet Increased Demand, and Provide a Better Client Experience
Vancouver is our busiest of 4 Food Distribution Sites, where we now consistently serve 350 – 450+ people in need of food support for themselves and their families each day. We also have 80 – 100 individuals and families registering each week as new GVFB clients across our catchment areas. To provide increased accessibility we have added 12 hours of distribution each week in our Vancouver location, including Saturdays – this is a first for the GVFB! The reviews so far have been extremely positive, including reduced line ups, faster service and a more relaxed atmosphere for our clients, staff and volunteers. We are thrilled with the impact!
One of our strategic directions in our 2020-2023 plan is to drive continual organizational improvement. It is because of the generosity of our financial donors, our industry donors, and our volunteers who donate their time that we have been able to make these improvements to the food we distribute and our clients’ accessibility to it.
We want to say Thank You!
Nothing makes us happier than seeing people walk away from our distribution sites with bags full of healthy, nutritious food and smiles on their faces.