Pacific Community Resource Society (PCRS) provides a wide range of social, health, education, employment, and life skills services to vulnerable people in the greater Vancouver area. The project’s focus was to analyze the spending trends of PCRS, within the April to July time period. With this in mind, we proposed our research question: “How much money is PCRS spending on food and what are the major trends?” Through acquiring these trends and viewing them to be congruent with their values and service principles, PCRS may continue or revise their current food expenditure. Some values and principles PCRS follow include: economic security, community, inclusion, advocacy, cultural enrichment, and empowerment. The PCRS runs a large number of programs, but for the case of this project we focused on analyzing the spending trends of four: the Eagle High Program, Breakfast Club, Kwayatsut and the Broadway Youth Resource Center. Furthermore, by helping PCRS with visualizing their spending trends, the local community also benefits, as the final results may allow the PCRS to make some changes in order to provide a more sustainable and nutritional meal program. Moreover, PCRS has the desire to support a food provider that benefits the community and that matches their values, so as a result, places where they purchase foods may also change according to our findings and recommendations. Our methods to obtain the desired information included us entering the information provided on the receipts obtained and calculating the total amount spent per month for each program as well as the amount spent per month on each food group (fruits & vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, others) for each program. Key limitations included a lack of time and incomplete data.
As we now reflect on our project, we have realized the role (though it may be small) we have played as a group in the PCRS’s larger picture. Through analyzing their financial records and noting trends that appear, we hope to have provided a building block for future projects to come. Our results displayed information previously unknown to the members of the PCRS and allowed them to gain insight into their spendings. This experience, though challenging, was very rewarding because as a group, we were able to collaborate and organize our information together to finish a project we previously had little-to-no idea how to approach.
With a foundation now laid out for the PCRS, future projects may possibly be built off of our project. Information such as where different programs purchase their products, or what products are purchased the most, can be used as information for future projects. Throughout this project, we were able to understand that there is much more occurring behind the scenes of many community organizations. The importance of receiving funds in order to upkeep a program, and budgeting greatly affect how programs can be run. Though we were not tasked to analyze their budgeting, we hope that this information further provides the PCRS an idea of the amount of money spent within 4 months. As a group, we wish that more trends could have been discovered, but due to limited time, only a few were noted.
As this project not only benefits PCRS, but also the local community, we recommend that if this project was to be done again, that time management should be improved, and that groups should factor in time for possible complications that may arise. Projects concerned with finding possible food suppliers which BYRC could partner with and find discounts could be beneficial for the organization. We would also recommend the next group to dive into deeper findings, such as to look at what percentage of spending should be on certain groups or to find out whether the mostly purchased food is fresh or processed.