Vancouver businesses and organizations are banding together to provide nutritious meals to people living in the Downtown Eastside and other vulnerable citizens in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the restaurant ceased operations in mid-March, its team began making free meals for DTES residents so that the food it had on hand wouldn’t go to waste. During the first few deliveries, the desperate need for organized meals for seniors and others living in SRO buildings without kitchen facilities became abundantly clear. With soup kitchens and drop-in centres having closed due to COVID-19, accessing food has been that much harder.
Green-Schuermans formed the Food Coalition to meet the need for 1,200 daily in-place meals while keeping the local food-supply chain alive and supporting restaurants and other local businesses.
City of Vancouver COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and Greater Vancouver Food Bank are handling administrative duties for the coalition. Telus is providing delivery vehicles, while Food.ee is handling logistics. Charitable Impact is tracking tax-deductible donations.
Food Coalition has launched a $100,000 funding drive. Every tax-deductible donation made until Saturday (May 2) via its website is being matched by an anonymous donor.
With $100,000, the team can feed more than 350 seniors two meals per day for 14 days. The matching funds would double that number to 700.
Confirmed suppliers include Hannah Brook Farms, Farmcrest Poultry, Gelderman Farms, Livia Bread, Klippers Organic Farm, Zaklan Heritage Farm and Glorious Organics Farm.
Among the participating restaurants, in addition to Chambar, are Burdock & Co., Medina Café, Fable Kitchen, Autostrada, Wildebeest, and Dirty Apron.
The team at the Dirty Apron, meanwhile, is also donating time and efforts to feed vulnerable Vancouverites in other ways.
With the help of volunteers and through partnerships with the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Community College, and Whole Way House, the company is prepping and delivering 1,500 ti 1,800 meals per week to SRO housing and DTES residents, seniors who can’t safely leave home, and many other people throughout the city.
Free to recipients, each packaged meal comes with fresh fruit, juice, and a freshly made granola bar and costs $7 to produce. Robertson is hoping more private organizations and individuals will support the program by donating to its Buy a Meal for Someone in Need program.
For a tax receipt, donations can be made via Whole Way House, a registered local charity that, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, is offering seniors and other vulnerable residents the ability to self-isolate and stay home via an essential meal-delivery service. The Dirty Apron and Whole Way House have partnered up in many other ways over the last decade.
NIghtingale chef/founder David Hawksworth (who also runs Hawksworth Restaurant and Bel Cafe) has also launched Sunday Suppers to support restaurant and hospitality workers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Industry members can order a delicious, wholesome, subsidized Sunday dinner for $5. at hawknightingale.com/sunday-supper.