2017 TELUS presents Vancouver Santa Claus Parade means a Happy Holiday for Greater Vancouver Food Bank members
By Aart Schuurman Hess, CEO, Greater Vancouver Food Bank
I want you to take a moment and think about the last meal you ate. Was it hot or cold? Was it spicy or sweet? What sort of ingredients went into the food? Could you feel the care that went into preparing it?
Now I want you to think about the environment you were in. Were you with someone or were you alone? What did you discuss? Were you catching up with an old friend or were you having family dinner around the dining room table?
There is a lot of love and care that goes into preparing the foods you and I eat. Each item is literally hand picked from our grocery store shelves, ingredients are carefully measured and even though we may sometimes stray from what we know we should be eating, we all try to be generally healthy.
It may surprise you to learn that that’s the sort of attitude we try to make sure that our members feel when they use the services of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Our organization has been serving Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore since 1982, and over this time we’ve evolved the way we collect and distribute food to our members.
The foods we offer are nutritious, healthy, and as fresh as possible, with as many fruits, vegetables whole grains, and proteins as we can get. The food is distributed in a dignified way- in comfortable, warm spaces, surrounded by friendly faces. There are staff who answer questions, do their best to teach recipes, and community partners who offer up different services our members might not normally have access to like dental care, mental health check-ins, and so on.
None of this would be possible without events like the TELUS presents Vancouver Santa Clause Parade. The Parade has collected more than $157,100 and more than 77,000 lbs. of food for families since its inception in 2004, and on behalf of our members, staff, volunteers and partners, I say thank you.
So, how can you continue to help? We invite everyone to attend the parade on December the 3rd– it’s going to be a tremendous party and a fabulous way to kick off the holiday season!
And if you’re going to attend, we encourage you to donate, either funds, or a nutritious, non-perishable food item. The best food items for donation are: canned fish, canned chicken or turkey; canned black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans; whole grains and whole-wheat pasta; and canned vegetables and fruit.
If you’d prefer to donate funds, you’ll be happy to know that for each $1 received, the GVFB is able to purchase $3 worth of food, thanks to our wholesale purchasing power from local farmers and suppliers. We have many volunteers joining the parade with donation cans to collect your generous dollars. And if you cannot make it to Parade Day, there is an online donation option, now open.
Last but not least, I also want to extend my deepest gratitude to the entire team at TELUS. You recognized that regardless of what’s happening in the rest of the world, hunger doesn’t take a break. Your leadership has saved this beloved holiday tradition, bringing joy to thousands of individuals on December 3rd, and some much needed awareness of the work that benefits the more than 27,000 members in the Lower Mainland that use the Food Bank each week.