12 Days of Giving

Day 12: Vancouver Food Runners

Vancouver Food Runners is changing the way food recovery supports our community to address food insecurity. Using app-based technology, a team of volunteer food drivers redirect surplus food from businesses to non-profit partners. Since January 2021, volunteers have redistributed more than 700,000 pounds of food (equivalent to 545,000 meals) to support those in need, while also drastically reducing food waste from landfill. It can be challenging for smaller businesses to contribute to food rescue and therefore food is often wasted.

Vancouver Food Runners play a unique role with respect to the long tail – a statistical concept where the larger cumulative quantity lies not in larger amounts, but in smaller representations. The ongoing rescue of smaller donations that make up the long tail is not cost-effective nor scalable if the solution is to add trucks for this type of smaller collection. Their innovative use of technology and volunteers allows them to rescue the long tail that is currently being wasted. In addition, the agile volunteer drivers can get fresh food directly to their network of community partners spread out across Vancouver, which creates more equitable food access for individuals experiencing food insecurity.

YVR’s funds will support program expansion to their efforts to normalize the donation of surplus food in a free, simple and flexible way for all food businesses to participate in food recovery.

Learn more about Vancouver Food Runners and how you can contribute: vancouverfoodrunners.com

Day 11: Environmental Youth Alliance

Environmental Youth Alliance supports youth facing barriers between 14 and 18 years old that identify as Indigenous, BIPOC, LGBTQ2+, living with a disability, racialized new immigrants, in foster care or low income and connects them with nature to develop skills and confidence to become environmental stewards and community leaders. Their programs are inclusive and trauma-informed.

Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA) supports youth facing barriers and connects them with nature to develop skills and confidence to become environmental stewards and community leaders. Vulnerable youth are disproportionately impacted by environmental crises but systemically excluded from environmental careers. EYA's programs are inclusive, trauma-informed and support mental health and skill-building through land-based education based on western ecology and Indigenous teachings from Elders as well as paid employment-training programs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Learn more about the stewardship work the Environmental Youth Alliance is leading in our community: eya.ca

Day 10: The Ballantyne Project

The Ballantyne Project supports Indigenous youth living in remote First Nation communities across Canada. By sharing his own stories of lived experiences, Dwight Ballantyne and The Ballantyne Project’s #WeSeeYou campaign seeks to change the narrative to ensure youth in these communities have access to opportunities, choices to make and empower them to reimagine what’s possible.

Dwight Ballantyne founded The Ballantyne Project in 2019 to raise awareness about this invisible segment of society. He spent his first 21 years, growing up in a remote northern Saskatchewan First Nation, until 2019 when a once in a lifetime opportunity presented itself and he moved to Maple Ridge British Columbia. As a youth, he experience limited employment, isolation, social inequity and feelings of hopelessness. He recognized that thousands of other youth experienced these same feelings and he sought to change the narrative, to offer inspiration and support youth in these remote First Nation communities. In just two years, they have reached a point where they need additional resources to be able to meet the requests for mentorship and opportunities for Indigenous youth.

An integral part of Dwight’s story is that hockey tournaments offered a few chances for him to leave his reserve and gain insight that there were many opportunities available that he may have never known—offering hope during dark emotional times and had the potential to alter the trajectory of his life. We’re thrilled that YVR’s $20,000 grant will support a group Indigenous youth and chaperones from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta—a remote fly-in First Nation to come to Vancouver to attend cultural events, have new experiences and build relationships with non-Indigenous youth.

#WeSeeYou. Learn more about The Ballantyne Project: theballantyneproject.com

Day 9: Stigma-Free Society

Stigma-Free Society is committed to combating stigmas of all kinds, with a focus on mental health. They build awareness and understanding through educational programming that encourages all people to foster acceptance of themselves and others. Through the pandemic they shifted to 100% virtual programming, resulting in their ability to reach children and youth in communities across our province.

YVR’s funding will support the development of resources and campaigns to reach more British Columbians. We value their approach to partner with a team of courageous presenters who share compelling stories of their personal journeys with mental illness, disabilities and other challenging situations through live virtual presentations to classrooms.

Learn more about Stigma-Free Society: stigmafreesociety.com

Day 8: Collingwood Neighbourhood House

Collingwood Neighbourhood House provides services and community development initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of residents in the Renfrew-Collingwood area of east Vancouver. As more people in our community are challenged by food insecurity due to the effects of the pandemic and increased costs, YVR’s $20,000 grant will be used to stock their community fridge and provide emergency hampers with fresh produce and culturally appropriate foods for low income seniors.

With ongoing supply chain disruptions caused by the recent B.C. floods, many food insecure residents Collingwood Neighbourhood House is also going to use the funding to support other local organizations including The Pacific Immigrant Resource Society and City Reach to continue distributing emergency food for residents facing multiple barriers.

Learn more about Collingwood Neighbourhood House: cnh.bc.ca

Day 7: Dan's Legacy

Dan’s Legacy provides trauma-informed and culturally sensitive cousnselling and life skills programs to at risk youth in Metro Vancouver. Many clients are aging out of foster care, who are at high risk for homelessness, lifelong mental health issues, entrenched addiction, overdose and suicide. Their counselling program is evidence-based with a 50% success rate in helping the youth to stabilize within four months. We believe in their work to connect young people facing barriers to opportunities through their work skills program.

Dan’s Legacy was founded in memory of a young man who, after surviving sexual abuse as a teenager, self-medicated with hard drugs in an attempt to numb the psychological pain of the traumatic
experience. He received help from substance abuse recovery programs on two occasions, but did not have access to essential one-to-one therapy. Tragically, Dan relapsed, overdosed and died—he was 19.

YVR’s $20,000 grant will support their paid practicum work opportunities for graduates of their Intro to Cook job skills training program which is clinically supervised and provides professional cook training to youth aging out of foster care, Indigenous youth, young women survivors of gendered violence and new Canadians. These young people experience significant barriers to post-secondary education or trade’s training opportunities. Dan’s Legacy helps to close this gap with their work skills program and gain real world experience, with strong success rates with graduates gaining full time employment in the restaurant industry.

For more information about Dan’s Legacy, visit: danslegacy.com

Day 6: Flavours of Hope

Flavours of Hope supports and empowers refugee newcomer women to earn a livable income and build social connections in the community through cooking and sharing culinary traditions and stories. Systemic racism, social isolation, and language challenges have made it difficult for refugee women to find meaningful connections, employment, and support services in the community.

We’re proud to help enable Flavours of Hope empower new members in our community, creating systemic change and providing a transformative impact for refugee women as they become equipped entrepreneurs and community leaders.

YVR’s $20,000 grant will support their Dream Cuisines program which will provide refugee women access to mentorship, workshops, kitchen space, community connections, and social networks to build their food businesses and earn a livable income. The funding will cover a significant portion of costs which include program staffing, farmers market fees, start-up support for women’s businesses, marketing, branding and mentorship honorariums.

Learn more about Flavours of Hope and the transformative impact they are facilitating for refugee women to succeed in our community: flavoursofhope.com

Day 5: Mission Possible

Mission Possible serves residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, supporting a vulnerable population challenged by poverty, homelessness, addictions, mental health crises and disability and supports them to navigate their journey to a sustainable livelihood. Through it’s Employment Readiness Program and social enterprises, Mission Possible is transforming lives by helping people experience a renewed sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work.

Many participants depend on food line ups to meet their needs, these line ups are closed by the time work is completed. YVR’s $20,000 grant will provide lunches for participants which is critical for their successful completion of the program. More than a healthy and nutritious meal for those working, shared participant lunches are also an opportunity to build friendships and feel a sense of connection and belonging to enhance overall well-being.

To learn more about Mission Possible, visit: mission-possible.ca

Day 4: Archway Society for Domestic Peace

Archway Society for Domestic Peace supports women, children and families to live a life of dignity and respect, free from domestic and sexual violence in the North Okanagan. Throughout the pandemic, there has been an increase in individuals seeking support and accessing programs including shelter through their transition house, Support to Young Parents residential program, homelessness prevention, outreach counselling and advocacy, while also seeking new ways to address the needs of the community.

Archway has a school outreach program that is aimed at breaking the silence of domestic and sexual violence and provides a safe space to learn and engage and will use the $20,000 grant to support this program which focuses on what actions, behaviours or attitudes that form healthy, unhealthy, or abusive relationships. Demand for these workshops currently exceeds their ability to fulfill the requests. funding will support increased staffing and technological equipment to support building capacity in a virtual setting. In addition they will be able to provide counselling support through their Support to Young Parents Program which provides support to pregnant and parenting teens and young women, enabling them to regulate emotions and manage anxiety.

To learn more about the difference Archway Society for Domestic Peace is making, visit: archwaysociety.ca

Day 3: Growing Chefs!

Growing Chefs prioritizes schools with at-risk or vulnerable populations—kids from a diverse range of backgrounds including Indigenous students, English language learners, newcomers to Canada and culturally diverse, inner city students who may have less access to green spaces and learning about local agriculture for the first time.

A class who recently experienced a Growing Chefs virtual field trip learned the importance of sustainability and healthy eating. The flooding events sparked important discussions around the students concerns for safety, land, food security and for the loss of many animals’ lives.

When kids get hands on experience the entire food cycle—digging in the soil, planting seeds, harvesting vegetables and learning basic food skills, it encourages kids to be excited about being healthy. Food can be a catalyst for positive change and a source of joy, inspiration, and fulfillment in the most challenging times.

Learn more about the edible education that Growing Chefs and their volunteers provide: growingchefs.ca

Day 2: Crisis Centre of BC

The Crisis Centre of BC provides immediate access to barrier-free, non-judgmental, confidential support through 24/7 phone lines and online services to anyone who needs it. As we all continue navigate the everchanging events around the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, as well as emergency crises in BC, we know that support is needed for British Columbians now, more than ever.

Through the incredible work of their highly trained crisis responders, 99.5% of all calls are de-escalated without the need for emergency services or police intervention while providing the appropriate support for every individual across a broad spectrum of crisis and suicide intervention.

Our $20,000 grant will help ensure crisis responders are available 24/7 and also support the expansion of their youth engagement and programming in 2022 including the development of flexible online modules to increase access to youth skills and tools to cope with challenges and life transitions.

To learn more, please visit crisiscentre.bc.ca

Day 1: Hope Air

Hope Air provides travel and accommodation support for Canadians in need of medical care far from home. The cost to access treatment is a huge barrier if travel is required. Hope Air has facilitated more than 160,000 travel arrangements for Canadians—68,000 for British Columbians, many of which come through YVR. Throughout the pandemic, patients continued to travel to access lifesaving care, or to save an essential function, such as their mobility or sight. Connecting people and communities is at the core of what we do, which is why we believe in helping Hope Air connect people with healthcare.

To learn more, please visit HopeAir.ca

Follow along for all 12 Days of Giving as we provide continue to highlight organizations doing great things in our community