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!
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!