How One Local Food Bank is Changing the Way We Feed Our Communities

Posted under  Better Planet, Food & Health, Nature's Path on
Here at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, we’re big believers in the importance of food - how it connects us with one another, how it nurtures both the body and soul, and how we can all make sure that we don’t take it for granted. We’re seeing a lot of interesting work that food banks across North America are doing, and for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, we think we’ve come up with the best model for our members.

About the Food Bank

Our organization has been around since 1982, and we’ve evolved over the years to change how we view food. While we value and use every grain of rice and every piece of food that we receive, we’re focusing our efforts in ensuring we feed our members with fresh, nutritious foods as much as possible. That means lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and minimally processed whole grains. We think that our members appreciate the higher quality of food that we’re looking to provide them. In classrooms and homes, we teach our kids to prioritize healthy foods over refined sugar, preservatives and white flour, so it makes sense to extend these values to our members. In addition to the content of the food we’re providing, we’ve also taken it upon ourselves to improve the conditions in which our members receive their foods. When people think of food banks, they often think of uncomfortable spaces, long line ups, and hostile environments where the person who comes early receives the most food, and the last person in line gets the scraps. That’s not good enough for us. We believe that food can be distributed to our members in a pleasant, friendly and dignified way. For us, this means creating “Community Food Hubs”, where our members can come at a pre-planned time, have a cup of coffee, calmly pick up the food items they might need for the week, spend time with friends and community members, and have access to different services they might need. Sounds kind of like a grocery store, doesn’t it? From the type of food we serve, to the environment we serve it in, to the wisdom we’re sharing with our members (and the wisdom they share with us), we’ve taken a new approach to dealing with the problem of food insecurity.

How You Can Help

This new model, in particular, is the reason why partners like Nature’s Path and events like the Eat Well Do Good Foodraiser are so valuable. For each $1 that the Greater Vancouver Food Bank receives in donation from community partners and the public, we’re able to translate that into $3 worth of fresh, nutritious food. So what can you do to help? Nature's Path hosts their Eat Well Do Good Foodraiser each October in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Everyone who visits has the opportunity to enjoy delicious organic coffee, local grab-and-go breakfast and lunch bags, and shop the marketplace, all by donation, to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Moreover, you're able to buy large bags filled with food products from natural food companies, and purchase fresh produce to fill up the bag. We’d also love for you to consider donating online. This event is one that we get really excited about, because organizations like Natures’ Path understand the importance of fresh, nutritious food in a warm, welcoming and empowering environment. These types of healthy meals, centered around family and put together with care, have a profound impact, not only as fuel for our bodies, but as nutrition for the soul.

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About The Author

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is a non-profit organization with a mission to create empowering environments that provide and promote access to healthy food, education and training. They provide assistance to over 26,500 people weekly through 13 food locations and more than 80 community agencies located in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is committed to its vision of accessible, healthy and sustainable food for all, and through community collaboration, is pro-actively working to help reduce food insecurity.

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