While community food security is on all of our minds right now as we professionally and personally deal with the effects of the pandemic, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank recently proposed changes to its registration process that will have a long term effect on people’s ability to access food supports.
In early March they announced that they were putting in place a new registration process that would require all current food bank users to re-register. To re-register (or register in the future) they would be required to provide:
- valid government issue picture ID for all adults;
- verification of current address; and,
- verification of their last three months income.
In addition to this, for the first time they would be introducing means-testing which could disqualify some current food bank users from access if their income was above a figure set by the GVFB (slightly above the LICO).
This is at a time when most food banks are moving away from increasing barriers to food access.
Needless to say, alarm bells went off for many who work with vulnerable populations and a plan was developed to advocate against this.
Last week the Board of the NW Homelessness Coalition Society endorsed an advocacy letter to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank to express our deep concern around these changes and the effect they will have on access to food.
Even with this pandemic happening, they have not stepped back from these changes and still intend to have all food bank users re-register by July 1st at the latest. The current information also has this registration process happening at the Burnaby Greater Vancouver Food Bank location.
We have one GVFB depot in New West that currently operates out of Olivet Baptist Church 3 Thursday mornings a month. During the crisis, they will operate from the parking lot of Tipperary Park. It is not known how many current food bank users will be able to meet the new requirements or what effect their disqualification will have on other local service providers’ food programming.
To learn more please read and consider signing the open letter to the Greater Vancouver Foodbank on behalf of your organization or as a concerned community member.
Stay safe everyone!