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Weekend food hamper program expands in New West

A new food program is ensuring that New West residents unable to access weekday food programs don’t go hungry. St.
St. Aidans

A new food program is ensuring that New West residents unable to access weekday food programs don’t go hungry.

St. Aidan’s Presbyterian Church launched the Don’t Go Hungry food program at its West End church in May, soon followed by a second program at Knox Presbyterian Church in Sapperton. A third food hamper program is set to begin this month in Queensborough. 

“We will start with 20 bags there,” said Rev. Laurie Deacon of St. Aidan’s in an email to the Record. “We are now preparing over 70 bags per week so that will take us to 90 bags of dry goods.”

With two additional Save-On-Food stores coming on board with food donations, Deacon is hopeful the program will have enough food for all the folks who show up. Volunteers from the New West Soccer Club will help distribute food at the Queensborough site.

A fourth program is set to start the first weekend in July at Gordon Presbyterian Church in the Edmonds neighbourhood in Burnaby.

“The need is great in that area so will probably serve 100 households,” Deacon said. “The food source is Greater Vancouver Food Bank for dry goods and Costco for reclaimed produce.”

While a variety of food programs exist for folks who are able to pick up hampers on weekdays, Don’t Go Hungry provides food on weekends, helping people who may work during the week and can’t access emergency food supports.

Free food hampers, including dry goods, meat, dairy, bread and produce, for anyone in need are available for curbside pickup (complete with physical distancing, gloves and masks) on Saturdays:

* St. Aidan’s Presbyterian Church, 1320 Seventh Ave., serves the West End community from 1:30 to 2 p.m.

* Knox Presbyterian Church, 403 East Columbia St., serves the east side of the city from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

* Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church, 130 to 2 p.m., serves the Queensborough community from 1:30 to 2 p.m. (Starting June 27)

For more information on the program, go to or the Don’t Go Hungry page on Facebook and Instagram.

Deacon said the church is grateful to the many groups and individuals, including more than 50 volunteers, who have supported the food program at the New West locations.

 “I feel at times I’m at the centre watching amazing volunteers magnify what a caring community looks like, she said in an email to the Record. “It truly does take a village to create a whole society. And I’m glad to be a part of New Westminster!  People are generous and compassionate, especially in difficult times.”

Along with food and grants to pay for food (Save-On Foods, Robyn Faust at Epicure, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and the Vancouver Foundation), the program received a donation of 2,000 masks for volunteers (Canadian Tire). But the assistance doesn’t stop there, with Dan’s Legacy picking up and delivering the food every week, Betina Wheeler at the Homelessness Action Network working “tirelessly” to find and connect community resources, city staff helping to get the programs up and running and applying for the Vancouver Foundation grant, the New West Soccer association setup up a site for the hamper pickup in Queensborough, Deborah Deacon donating time to get the project’s website and social media up and running, Greens and Beans providing tips on supporting the food program and Dave Valley providing encouragement, advertising and signs.