When we’re hungry and haven’t been eating quality food, it directly affects our ability to think clearly and maintain our health. MBI supports neighbours and community with food security through the
TOKEN PROGRAM and MEAL PROGRAM
based out of Save On Meats located at 43 West Hastings in the heart of the Downtown Eastside.
Meal tokens are purchased from Save On Meats, the diner located at 43 West Hastings street in the heart of the downtown eastside. They are then distributed directly by the donor or via one of our community partners to share amongst their organization. Token donors rest assured that what they give will provide much needed sustenance to community members and at the same time support Save On Meats’ social enterprise. Tokens also solve the dilemma that many people face when hesitant to give money rather than food to people they see on the street. The program acts as a bridge between people who want to give and people who need the support.
“Building relationships with new clients is a delicate process at Connections Clinic. The tokens donated to us often act as the first bridge between our outreach staff and those we serve because Save On Meats is a common place where everyone feels safe, comfortable and welcome.”
“The Save On Meats tokens are a great tool for us to build relationships on the street, diffusing tense situations and motivating people to get up and get down to Save On Meats for a sandwich!”
“Save On Meats has been extremely generous in providing us with food tokens for over a year. They are available to clients in the resource centre when using the space and utilizing our many services… Community organizations such as the VWHC benefit from business programs such as yours by bridging the gap between poverty and social awareness. Thank you a million times over…”
Meals go to women and children fleeing violence, street-entrenched youth, and folks on assisted living. Meals are shipped to our partnered community organizations by Shift Delivery Cooperative. When providing these meals, we are constantly striving to come up with interesting, new ways to make delicious, healthy food on a limited budget. Often this means partnering with other community organizations to source low-cost, local produce. Our meals cost $3.50 to prep, cook and deliver to residents. The cost of meals are subsidized by donations to A Better Life Foundation.
“Some medication you have to take food with, you know, it’s important for us to take our meds right and if you can’t take your meds its not good.” … “I think my mental outlook is better, knowing that I don’t have to worry everyday where I’m going to get something to eat. I sleep better, just all around better. Like it’s supposed to be.”
Beyond the token and meal programs which operate consistently over the year,
we host and support special events for memorials, community building and education.
Our two main events are called Plenty of Plates and The Greasy Spoon Diner.
A hands-on team building experience that makes a real and meaningful differece under the ABLF umbrella. Members of the DTES community are invited to enjoy a hot, nutritious meal that has been prepared on-site in the Commissary Kitchen in the Save On Meats diner. Food is prepared by volunteer teams ranging from school groups that have activated their own fundraising to co-workers sponsored by their employer.
Inviting some the best chefs in the world to cook at Save On Meats, the Greasy Spoon is a monthly four-course fine dining, diner experience. Chefs trade in their tweezers for tongs, creating four courses inspired by diner food. The meal is paired with cocktails made and serviced by award-winning bartenders, as well as craft beer and wine. Proceeds go directly into the A Better Life Foundation daily meal program.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Our ability to succeed in life, business, or personal interests come down to our level of education and training. These alone can be a barrier to someone overcoming poverty as these it doesn’t come free. We train members of our community in culinary excellence. We educate neighbouring businesses on inclusive hiring, and we provide hands on community experiences to secondary schools students and youth groups.
The 1100 sqft Vancouver incubator kitchen was developed in partnership with Save On Meats, City of Vancouver, and Vancouver Community College, and Vancity Credit Union. The incubator kitchen leverages existing relationships and coordinates activities within one centralized space. It allows the community to facilitate education, business development, and skills training within what was previously underutilized space.
“We are pursuing shared goals, project partners are making food preparation space available to emerging food enterprises on a flexible and affordable basis” … “We are proud to support the
advancement of a vital community food hub in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.”
Cooking Classes with Charlene
A Better Life Foundation supports local resident, Charlene with funding to cover the cost of her time and food for a cooking class at the Sorella House.She started a cooking class to help low-income individuals cook meals. She even helps individuals find deals at groceries in the DTES, while teaching them how to use bulk items that they have received from food banks that they might not know how to use otherwise.
Employment doesn’t always come easy for our marginalized populations and yet it makes the greatest difference.There is the assumption that hiring this population is a burden and that is simply untrue. The reality is that hiring people with barriers benefits our economy and benefits our businesses. Staff retention is 72% higher than traditional employment and businesses are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. Beyond the numbers, the energy and positivity that employees with barriers bring to our workplaces is immeasurable.
“Everyone is really well supported. It’s incredibly good to see a company looking after its
community and are understanding that it’s not just about money. It’s a caring environment.”
“Working in an environment with people who have barriers is great. It proves how
meaningless barriers actually are, they’re just labels.”