Volunteering at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank

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MM Students at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank – Instalment 1 of the local MM Gives Back initiative, which engages students with the local community.

 

Instalment 1 of the MM Gives Back Local Initiatives:

10 MM students from the 2015 cohort followed in the footsteps of the 2014 cohort by volunteering at the Vancouver Food Bank

One of our tasks was to assemble the emergency food bags. We were shocked by the small amount of fresh produce available to give to each recipient. At this time of the year no local produce is growing and therefore, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank has to make due with what is available. We had no idea how many families rely on these services and it was a chance for us to understand the magnitude of the problem and reflect on ways to give back further.

The Greater Vancouver Food bank provides for over 100 meal-providing agencies that help over 13,000 people each week and relieve families across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. It is incredible, the 26,000 square foot warehouse is packed full of generous donations from the community. Even so, there is still a growing need for help. It was a very eye-opening experience, and I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that we took a lot away from volunteering our time.

What we found very interesting was the direction that they hope to take the Food Bank in years to come. They are currently in a transition phase starting with the transformation of their depots into hub centers. The new centers will create a “shopping experience” rather than an assembly line approach to giving out donations. Our group was very impressed by this improvement, primarily, because it dignifies the process. Another unique element is the café in their North Vancouver hub, which allows people to sit and eat a meal together. The idea behind this is to foster a sense of community amongst food bank users. Overall, the Food Bank is trying to revitalize their framework and focus on empowerment and education.

We are so happy to have volunteered our time and we hope that the next MM class will come together to continue on the legacy.

 – Marni-Lyn Fox

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