The GOODS from Vancouver Community College
Vancouver, BC | Vancouver Community College (VCC) has opened its downtown kitchens as a meal-prep and distribution hub for those in Vancouver with barriers to food security during COVID-19. The project is a collaboration with the City of Vancouver, local chefs, food suppliers, and agencies.
“VCC has been part Vancouver’s fabric for over 50 years and we have a longstanding relationship with this community that is currently in need of additional support. With the world-class professional kitchens and tools at our Downtown campus, we are pleased to help our neighbours and friends,” says Ajay Patel, VCC president and CEO.
City of Vancouver staff reached out to VCC requesting urgent assistance with support to supply and distribute food during the COVID-19 crisis. Much of the regular food distribution has stopped for the Downtown Eastside (DTES) community, and the need to provide nutritious meals and snacks to the residents of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units is a priority for the City.
VCC has worked to orchestrate a huge meal and food delivery program that currently requires the creation of 2,000 meals, three times per week (1,000 lunches and 1,000 dinners). Each hamper includes four meals, snacks, napkins, drinks, and cutlery. The menu is determined based on the supplies available, and VCC culinary staff will strive to include a combination of hot and cold meals and snacks.
Adds Patel, “Our culinary staff, cleaners, and leadership teams have worked tirelessly over the past week to roll this out very quickly with the City. It is truly heartwarming to have so many chefs, restaurants, and local agencies come together. VCC is proud to do what we can in this uncertain time.”
Meal production and delivery are being coordinated through VCC’s Downtown campus, led by culinary arts assistant department head Chef John Lewis, prepared by Red Seal-certified chefs in VCC’s commercial kitchens, and packaged for delivery by VCC Food Services. Strict health and safety measures are in place in consideration of staff and public health, including using recommended physical distancing and other protocols as directed by regional health authorities.