The Daily Meal Program is a cornerstone of our work. Preparing, cooking, packaging and delivering 1,000+ scratch-made meals to residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside 365 days a year (including Christmas when we make a festive turkey dinner dressed with all the traditional fixins’!) is where we start with food security.
In partnership with Atira and BC Housing, we have served over 3,000,000 Daily Meals since 2012 to Vancouver’s most at-risk population. These meals nourish more than just a basic human right to satisfy hunger. They are an investment into an individual’s autonomy, agency, upward mobility and ultimately, our collective wellness. We are so proud of our purpose-driven, passionate Chefs and are always working towards scaling up to positively impact more folks who need us most.
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
Have you ever been to the grocery store and hand-picked a free-range, organic chicken about to hit its due date instead of selecting one with more days left until it’s best before? Or maybe you’ve reached for the fruit salad with an “enjoy today” sticker, passing up a longer-lasting option. Do you pick up the almond milk with a dented carton? It could happen, but often we opt for food items that offer us a little more time or a prettier package.
In Canada, 58% of all food produced is never eaten? This stat is scary, especially considering that 1 in 8 Canadian families are food insecure*. The two don’t add up! By diverting and repurposing unsellable grocery store food from making its way to the landfill, we are committed to Waste Not, Want Not! This food recovery initiative is a community re-imagining of our food systems.
*according to PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research.
WASTE DIVERTED FROM THE LANDFILL
CO2 SAVED FROM ENTERING THE ATMOSPHERE
There are more barriers to employment than physical and visible disabilities. A history of addiction, poverty, recidivism management, age, sexual orientation, and time spent away from the workforce are just some of the factors that can block an individual from gaining employment.
We are proud of our partnerships with Open Door Group, the YMCA, Mission Possible, Pacific Autism Family Network and Jobs West Employment Services plus many others. By joining forces with these local, accessibility-focussed organizations, we are able to help steward inclusive hiring practices for the foodservice industry we are rooted in, creating purpose, positive identity and meaningful employment.
TRAINING & EDUCATION
A holistic view of dignified food security includes food literacy. It includes understanding the impact of our food choices on personal health, wellbeing, and the environment. Recognizing the need for a greater familiarity with the knowledge and skills necessary to select, prepare and enjoy healthy foods on a budget in the communities we serve, we developed Sharpen Up. Creating this curriculum to help guide healthier opportunities for at-risk individuals in Vancouver’s DTES and across North America via Zoom, we put our Chefs to work training and educating those who need us most. Beyond skills, our cohorts gain confidence, food literacy and an understanding of the role food plays in every aspect of our life. They take this with them well beyond the kitchen.
COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE
As other food providers were forced to cease operations, many low-barrier food sources disappeared throughout the DTES community we serve. We responded as an essential service with rapidly scaled food production to increase the number of people served and the size of the meals themselves.
MARCH 2020 – JULY 2020