Enhance Emergency Food Support in South Vancouver Before it's too Late.

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Low income seniors and other vulnerable groups living in Victoria-Fraserview, Killarney and Sunset struggle to find access to free or low-cost food in their neighbourhood. Since COVID-19 started, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank closed their distribution site in Victoria-Fraserview and relocated to Mount Pleasant and downtown Vancouver. These new sites are difficult for seniors, persons with disabilities, and families with young children to access. They have to take several buses to reach the new locations and with risks of contracting COVID-19, many are afraid.

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House stepped in to offer temporary emergency food distribution, which helped our community in the first months of the pandemic. Approximately 350 low-income individuals were accessing emergency food each week. However, SVNH discontinued the program on August 18th, because other neighbourhood house programs are starting again and its space is too small to continue with wide-scale emergency food distribution. 

There is a big gap in access to emergency food for low income seniors and other vulnerable groups in South Vancouver. Local residents cannot safely get to other areas of Vancouver like Strathcona, Grandview Woodlands, Hastings Sunrise, and Mount Pleasant where most food supports are available, especially with fear of COVID-19. We need help closer to home. If access to emergency food is not available, then vulnerable people will be in a situation where they have to choose between purchasing food, prescription medicine or paying for housing. No one should have to make a choice like that.

80% of our South Vancouver residents are racialized and over 50% of households don’t speak English at home. The barriers to access are significant and transit options are limited. We need your help to ensure equitable access to services across Vancouver, so all residents can stay healthy and strong. We, the South Vancouver Seniors Hub Council, are a group of concerned citizens urging our leaders to please act now to enhance emergency food support. Establish food programs in Killarney, Victoria-Fraserview and Sunset to ensure vulnerable community members can have access to emergency supports, especially during this time of crisis.