Greater Vancouver Food Bank needs help finding new temporary space for distribution

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      A local organization that helps those in need is now in need of some help itself.

      As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) has adapted to many changes and it is now searching for a new distribution location in Vancouver.

      When the pandemic began, the GVFB had to search for new locations for food distribution, and received the help of several municipalities.

      Although the GVFB was able to set up at Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Mount Pleasant Community Centre, the food bank has since had to vacate the Queen Elizabeth Theatre site.

      In addition, with the reopening of community centres, the GVFB can’t remain at the Mount Pleasant centre.

      The food bank needs 4,000 to 6,000 square feet in order to implement health measures, such as physical distancing, for the safety of its staff, volunteers, and growing number of clients.

      Each day, 25 staff and volunteers serve about 300 to 400 people (representing about 700 to 900 clients in total).

      The GVFB has leased a building in Vancouver that will operate as a food distribution location, and a mini-warehouse to provide supplies to community agency partners.

      However, a number of renovations, including the addition of 20,000 cubic feet of refrigeration, are required. Although the GVFB hopes to open their new location on January 2, the time frame needed to obtain permits and construction may mean it cannot open until February 1.

      In the meantime, the food bank is seeking to find a temporary space—from October to December or January—with a loading bay for trucks to unload thousands of pounds of food distributed from Tuesdays to Fridays every week. Staff will need access to the space from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and evening hours on Wednesdays).

      Anyone who can help the GVFB find a new space can contact communications officer Jodie Ou. 

      As the GVFB began experiencing a significant increase in demand during the pandemic, it had put out a call for donations in March in order to maintain operations. The B.C. government provided $5 million in emergency funding to food banks later that month.