Like myself, many people make donations of canned foods and dried goods to the Food Bank. This is typically done when their companies or neighbouring businesses host a can food drive. The goal, to get enough donations to feed several mouths. And like myself, many who donate don’t often think of what happens after the item gets put into the box and shipped to the Food Bank. Therefore, when I was given an opportunity to tour the Burnaby Food Bank location, I jumped at the chance and began questioning what happens to the food after it is donated. And the reality is a lot, and there still needs to be more.
Everything donated is assembled at their warehouse and organized accordingly. With non perishables stacked on shelves and skidded for easy transport. Fresh food is flash frozen in spacious walk in freezers.
Much of this stock have been donated by local grocery stores in bulk, so the Food Bank can see donations such as 30 pallets of grapes. What they can distribute and use they do, but the reality is they don’t have the means or manpower to repurpose everything. And the warehouse basically acts as a distribution hub. Often goods come past their best before date.
So anything that cannot be reused gets reduced and send to Refeed Canada, a composting facility in Langley. In the case of the grapes, most were made into raisins and donated back. The rest, composted to help grow new crops.
The foodstuffs go towards helping to feed people through halfway houses, churches with out reach programs, soup kitchens, and various shelters. In which the Greater Vancouver Food Bank GVFB refers to as “community agency partners”. These agencies are also able to visit the facility and “shop” for what their clients need.
The aim of that which is given out is that 50% of it is fresh food. Special packs are curated for families with dependents at specific age groups. What is needed for a baby differs from that of a preschooler. And what a grade schooler needs differs from what a senior gets in their pack. Each pack is designed with the aid of dietitian with nutrition on the forefront. Each gets an monthly and/or weekly allotment that is pulled together from what has been donated and what the GVFB purchases themselves.
The reality is what is donated might not be what is needed. Powerade and beef jerky does not see as much use as a can of tuna or a bag of oranges might. So the food bank has to go out and purchase what they need to curates these well balance healthy packs.
Therefore the reality is a monetary donation goes a lot further than a food one. Not to mention the GVFB’s purchasing power is far superior than that of yours or mine. At 2:1, for every $1 you spend, they can get $2 worth of food. So if you really want to make a big impact save that $2.95 can of soup donation, and round that up for a monetary donation of $5.
This way the sum goes further and they can buy more fresh things. Because you can’t donate apple or potatoes. And in order to have a healthy and balanced diet, a person cannot live off of dried and canned goods only.
And as large as the warehouse is, the inventory that I have captured here today won’t be here for much longer. The GVFB does not hold on to anything. They don’t keep things for long, and actively try to turn over their inventory as fast as possible. But having to sort and organize drive donations require more labour hours. And they are already at 60 full time staff members, supplemented by 54,000 volunteer hours a year.
Therefore it only makes sense that The Greater Vancouver Food Bank has moved from Food Driver to Fund Drives.
Food drives yield goods that vary in quality, with 30% of it ending up being spoiled, damaged, or unsafe to eat. So based on food quality, the labour intensive work, and their buying power; as of January 2022 they are no longer hosting drives or asking for canned donations. Instead they are looking for funds and are coming up with creative ways to earn it, such as with Foodstock.
This is the first ever Foodstock and the first time the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is hosting such an event to earn much need donations for the need of healthy and good food, for all those that cannot afford it.
Foodstock is a music and beer festival featuring local bands, local beers, and local food trucks assembled to help feed local people.
As taken from their website: “For every $1 sold in ticket sales, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank can turn it into $2 worth of healthy and nutritious food for the 10,000 individuals they support in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and the North Shore each month.” “With the rising costs of living, the GVFB has been recently seeing more people in need of food support. In April alone, the GVFB registered 825 new clients and distributed 1.2 million lbs of food to the community. 25% of their clients are children, and 17% are seniors. “
Proceeds from the event will directly support the GVFB’s mission of providing healthy food to those in need, so get your tickets today: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/foodstock-a-gvfb-fundraiser-tickets-265486014817
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Swangard Stadium, 3883 Imperial St., Burnaby BC
12noon – 5pm
Include sets from Bend Sinister, Sleepy Gonzales, Generous Thieves, the noodle boys, Uncle Strut, Green Alderson, Madelyn Read, and Good Goin’.
Beverages from Strange Fellows Brewing, Luppolo Brewing Company, Dageraad Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Studio Brewing, Bridge Brewing, Wildeye Brewing, NUDE Beverages and more to be announced.
50% of the proceeds from all beverage sales will be donated to the GVFB.
Food Trucks include Beavertails, Kyu Grill, Shameless Buns, Wings, and Reel Mac n Cheese.
10% of all food sales will be donated to the GVFB.
Spend the afternoon enjoying great music, food and beer and launch the summer in style! Get your tickets today: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/1027-the-peak-presents-foodstock-a-gvfb-fundraiser-tickets-265486014817