Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society

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Volunteer Spotlight - Maninder Bisla

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 4:45pm
In our second volunteer spotlight celebrating National Volunteer Week 2014 #NVW2014 we meet Maninder.
Maninder started volunteering with the Food Bank last year and has since been contributing in many areas throughout the organization, inclusive of community food drives, special events as well as frontline in our community food hub locations. 
The Food Bank Special Events team is led by Mr. John Hughes who  leads and supports all facets of community engagement, from school-based

 food and fund drives to larger events such as the Rogers Santa Parade, which often requires upwards of 150 volunteers to help make it all possible. 
About me: My name is Maninder Bisla, I was born in Vancouver and work as a Ramp Agent at YVR Airport. 
Favorite fruit/vegetable: Blueberries and Carrots
Food hero: Planet Earth
How long you have been volunteering with the Food Bank: I have been helping at the Food Bank for 10 months now.
Why you choose to volunteer with the Food Bank: I chose to volunteer with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank because I wanted to give something back to our community. 
What an average day volunteering looks like: When I am volunteering at special events, I usually help out with l etting the public know ways they can help the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, c ollecting food and monetary donations as well as g eneral set up and clean up.
When I'm helping out at one of the food hubs, my duties usually consist of h elping unload the food bank truck, h elping scan food bank member cards as well as g eneral set up and clean up.
What you like most about volunteering: I love being able to volunteer with an organization that helps those individuals who are going through difficult times. 
What you would say to other people thinking about volunteering: I say go for it! Volunteering with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is a great way to give something back. It’s also a great way to learn about yourself and others in our community!
 Volunteer applications are currently being accepted for our upcoming Canstruction event in Vancouver. If you are interested in volunteering at this event or finding out more about Special Events and Food Drives at GVFBS please contact John Hughes, Special Events Coordinator.

Volunteer Spotlight: Alison Rodrigues

Monday, April 7, 2014 - 3:45pm
In our recent blog post we mentioned that the celebration of National Volunteer Week 2014 #NVW2014 would continue with a few  highlights from our community of extraordinary volunteers.
Today we meet Alison Rodrigues who helps out as part of our warehouse sort team. Overseen by Warehouse Sort Coordinator Vanessa Knight, the volunteer sort team is the first point of contact with all incoming food donations. Alison has been a key part of this team over the last seven years, bringing a beaming smile every time she walks through the door.
Name: Alison Rodrigues
About me:  I am Portuguese. I am 36 years old. I love animals and enjoy making dog treats and horse treats. I also like baking cookies, cakes and banana bread. I graduated from Vancouver Community College.  A course I took – Retail Foods and Supermarkets has helped me in my volunteer job at the Vancouver Food Bank. I also have my Food Safe Certificate.
I love sports – my favorite teams are the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Blue Jays. I am a Special Olympic athlete and have represented Team BC in the Special Olympics National Summer and Winter Games and the Western Canada Summer Games. I love volunteering at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. 
Favorite fruit/vegetable: Banana and Broccoli
Food heroI like Tacos! But I don’t know who the Food Hero is for Tacos!
How long you have been volunteering with the Food BankI started volunteering at the Vancouver Food Bank in February 2008. This is my seventh year. I enjoy the work and look forward to helping out. When I lived in Coquitlam, I volunteered for the Food Bank in Port Moody. 
Why you choose to volunteer with the Food BankI like helping our community and those in need. The Food Bank does a very good job, feeding and helping people. I have met many nice people here. The staff are super nice and dedicated to their job. They like helping others just like I do. I have also met some very nice volunteers. 
What an average day volunteering looks like: I like sorting the food donations into different carts and boxes for the different stations. Sometimes I work at the different stations, sorting the items into boxes to be distributed to the different locations in the community. 
What you enjoy about volunteering: I have volunteered for the SPCA, Pro-Life, The Cancer Society, Share’s Food Bank, Special Olympics, and the GVFBS. I love volunteering at the GVFBS. It makes me feel happy. I feel good helping those in need. I like to give back to the community by helping in different ways. Volunteering at the GVFBS is the BEST and I feel great and so happy when I am working there. I could do it every day of the week. 
What you would say to other people thinking about volunteering: I would tell them that it is the best thing to do. By helping others you feel happy and you feel good. It is very rewarding. 
If you, your club, business or organization would like more information about volunteering with our warehouse sort team, please contact Vanessa Knight!


Three Cheers for Volunteers

Friday, April 4, 2014 - 4:45pm

There are not many certainties in life, however one thing you can count on is that the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society could not provide the level of assistance or help care for our community without the support of our loyal volunteers. No if’s ands or but’s, it’s a fact.

In order to provide assistance to the 28,000 people that rely on us each week, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society moves over 8 million pounds of food across four municipalities every year. This is accomplished with a team of just 27 staff members. Without the help of our loyal volunteers, that would equate to almost 300,000 pounds of food per staff member, without taking into consideration the time and effort required to grow, harvest, organize and ultimately distribute food to our members. Needless to say, it wouldn't be possible.

Volunteers — Making it Possible

One of the unique things about the Food Bank is the way in which it brings people together. From our most vulnerable populations to our largest donors, everyone has a relatable interaction with food and thanks to our 30+ year history, nearly everyone has their own relatable connection to the Food Bank. We have amazing individuals, clubs, societies and corporate groups of every variety who all choose to give us their time and energy. They work in every aspect of our organization, be it on the front line at our food hubs, sorting donations in our warehouse or helping in one of our community kitchens. To put it into context, our volunteers provided approximately 100,000 hours of their time last year in order to make it all possible and for that we would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU.

Next week (April 6 - 12) is National Volunteer Week. Over the course of next week we will be highlighting a few of our extraordinary volunteers — sharing their stories, experiences and providing a brief look into why they choose to give us their time.

To that end, if you know a great Vancouver Food Bank volunteer or have a Food Bank story you want to share, please contact us so we can say thank you to them as well!

Lastly, whether it's the Food Bank or another organization that appeals to you, perhaps think about ways you could get involved by volunteering with an organization in your community. There are so many great (and deserving!) organizations that could truly benefit from the gift of your time. Every little bit counts!

Spring has Sprung!

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 4:45pm

It's hard to believe the last day of March is upon us, however it has been a fun-filled month at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society and we are officially into the swing of Spring. March was an exciting month involving everything from sharing fish to hugging bees and an impromptu evening with TED in between.

As with nearly all things at the food bank, the goings on were made possible by our amazing partners and volunteers, so we wanted to share some of the highlights as well as say thank you to everyone who contributed to making March such a stellar start to the new season.

TED and #NINJAvan - The Palmer, I mean Power, of Social Media

Vancouver welcomed the world-renowned weeklong celebration of TED Talks from March 17th - 21st for the first time in the organization's 30 Year history. One such TED fellow, tweeter, crowdsourcing guru, musician and ukulele advocate Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) decided in addition to her time at TED, to step outside the brilliantly organized event and create a ninja gig at the Vogue Theatre (#NINJAvan) with musicians, poets, TED icons and an astronaut in tow (as you do).

With input from local musician Geoff Berner the amazingly unfiltered Ms. Palmer tweeted @vanfoodbank and in a span of 48 hours, someway, somehow, everything came together in a spirit of unplanned imagination and intention - and magic happened. This included the graciousness of the Vogue Theatre who volunteered the venue free of charge, to the all star line up who came out to perform and the crew of superstar volunteers who responded via Twitter, dropped everything and drove from Portland, Spokane and beyond to help bring it all together.

It's difficult to accurately depict that night, but thankfully a few people have done a great job of doing just that and thanks to the power of the internet, we can share a bit of it with you here. First and foremost would be Amanda's blog, followed up by some great captures from the local media including Travis Lupick's article in the Georgia Straight, Marsha Lederman's piece via the Globe and Mail, the Huffington Post and the Vancouver Observer.

#NinjaVan generated nearly $10,000 in donations, which will enable the food bank to buy almost $30,000 worth of fresh, local produce. BOOM.

There aren't really words to describe how grateful we are to Amanda Palmer, The Vogue, our volunteers and everyone who came out and participated in the night itself. THANK YOU. We are so grateful to everyone for being involved and particularly Amanda and Geoff for making a huge difference in the lives of people that need us. Your gesture and your kindness continues on throughout our community.

Skipper Otto - Sharing the Love with Community Angel Food Runners

Lovely local fish was on the menu for community kitchens and agencies throughout the Downtown Eastside this month after we received a super generous donation of halibut, tuna and salmon from Skipper Otto's Community Supported Fishery.

All nine boxes of Omega 3 goodness were given to the Community Angel Food Runners program, which means meals throughout the community received a huge boost in the realm of ocean-wise protein. Big thanks for thinking of us and the great work you do Skipper Otto -- we appreciate it!

Landlord BC - Leading by Example

Mid month saw the return of the 2014 Spring Hope Food Drive by Landlord BC kick into action with landlords, tenants, and volunteers all working together to collect food during a time when the resources of the food bank are low. Thanks to their collective efforts, nearly 12,000 pounds of food was raised, which will immediately be distributed to our community. Thank you for your community spirit and very generous efforts again this year Landlord BC! Check out Landlord BC's Twitter and Facebook pages for more info.

Hugs for Hunger - Care of Spring Advertising

Who doesn't want a hug? Thursday, March 20th was the first day of Spring 2014. To celebrate this happy moment, our friends at Spring Advertising kindly gave up their time and expertise (on their 8th Anniversary no less) to summon a crew of 'Hugimals' to the streets and give away free hugs in celebration of the first day of Spring.

Included in the Hugimal line up was Eric The Sensitive Bear, Wuvawot, Hugabee, Flummsie and Sir Cuddlesalot. For every hug people were willing to give the team of friendly creatures, Spring kindly donated $1 to the Food Bank and on a beautiful Spring day the hugs were aplenty - check back on this blog for the totals and in the meantime check out Hugs for Hunger to see what kind of a hugger you are!

A New Day for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 6:00am
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society {GVFBS} is a non-profit organization that was established in 1982 with the intention of being a temporary relief to the hunger crisis resulting from the economic recession.
Today, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society provides assistance to over 28‚000 people every week through 15 food depots and over 100 community agencies located in Vancouver, Burnaby‚ New Westminster and North Vancouver. Currently, children represent 26% of the population in need of help, seniors represent 18% and the need for our services continues to rise.
Needless to say, it is time for change.
It is a new day at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. We have recently completed a strategic planning exercise – the first such exercise in the organization’s history – and we have charted a new direction for the next five years. While we will continue to provide assistance to help address the immediate needs of the community, we also recognize that emergency food as a standalone is not a long-term solution. As a result, we are evolving beyond the traditional emergency food hand out into a model that also helps foster a path back to self-sufficiency. A model rooted in education, empowerment and sustainability.
To that end, we have adopted a new vision to provide accessible, healthy and sustainable food for all and a new mission to empower people to nourish themselves by providing access to healthy food, education and training
We have dramatically increased our efforts with local farmers to support our community while maximizing the level of nutrition we are able to provide. We are building upon the work being done by our partner agencies to address the growing need for our services. We are exploring relationships that will ultimately strengthen the food system and through  collaboration, we are pro-actively working to help end hunger. 
There is much work to be done, however as a team and with the support of our partners and community, we are excited about the road ahead. We hope you join us in celebrating this new day and we look forward to sharing our progress with you along the way.