UNYA’s Food Pantry

“After decades of working in a kitchen, I decided to go back to college to connect to my Indigenous background and work within the community.”

The 2Spirit Youth Care Counsellor & Native Youth Learning Centre Coordinator at the Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA) is very passionate about the work their team is doing to support Indigenous youth in the lower mainland.

The UNYA Food Pantry Program runs through the UNYA Native Youth Learning Centre drop-in space. The Food Pantry Program has a wide reach within the 20+ UNYA programs and the Indigenous community. They have many people who come by regularly and new youth and families seek support from the program every week.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank has been providing food to UNYA for over 10 years! The quality of food that we are distributing has improved dramatically; food items like meat, cheese, eggs and milk. “When we get milk in, it’s gone quite quickly!” The program coordinator laughed. The amount of food that the GVFB is distributing has increased rapidly too – we are putting around 200,000 lbs more food into our communities every month, compared to this time last year.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, minimizing the disruption to our services was one of our main priorities, other than keeping everyone safe. Thanks to the team’s dedication, we have not had to pause our services at any point so local organizations like UNYA can continue to run their food programs with our food support.

“We’ve been able to increase food security for many of the youths who attend our various programs, as well as their families. The food pantry’s popularity has gone far beyond our expectations and we now provide free food to more than 700 people a month while receiving new youths every day,” The program coordinator said.

UNYA is one of the 84 agencies we’re currently supporting every month. We have eliminated our community agency waiting list and will be supporting more than 90 agencies by January 2021. This would not have been possible without the amazing generosity of our donors.

To learn more about UNYA: https://unya.bc.ca/

To see a list of the community agency partners that we work with: https://foodbank.bc.ca/find-food/agencies/