The Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) has been distributing hundreds of thousands of more pounds of food each month compared to pre coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic times.
The Burnaby-based food bank, which provides healthy food to those in need across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore, supports 8,500 people each month through direct distribution alone. Another 14,000 people are helped through GVFB’s 100 community partners. While many organizations have suffered at the hands of the pandemic, the GVFB has seen success distributing 150,000 to 200,000 pounds or more of nutritious food each month compared to 2019 and 2020.
Just a few years ago the GVFB was distributing six to eight items each week to single clients with a jar of peanut butter or a can of tuna as the main source of protein. Now the food bank puts out 10-15 items per person 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,” a recent release from the GVFB states. “We can also purchase more nutritious, protein-rich foods which cost a bit more, including mixed entrees like chilli, baked beans and healthy soups.”
The release goes on to say that increase has improved the nutrition for babies receiving help from the organization. A revamping of the food bank’s Preschooler Packs and Grade Schooler Packs program will see clients of the food bank receive a nutritionally enriched menu for their babies from 13 to 24 months old. That menu comes with a selection of both fresh and non-perishable “First Foods” to support the child’s development.
Saeid, a GVFB client with three children has seen the effects of the program first hand.
“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.
In a GVFB first, The food bank has added 12 hours of distribution each week in their Vancouver location, including Saturdays. Vancouver is the GVFB’s busiest food distribution site where they consistently serve over 450 people in need of food support for themselves and their families each day. That number is only expected to grow with 80-100 individuals and families registering each week.
“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,” the statement concludes.