FeastVan – Cafeteria Redux

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Due to crossed email wires my fellow V.I.A. editor Joel Levy and I decided independently to go to the same restaurant to participate in FeastVan…so if you want to know about the food at Cafeteria (which was super delicious and well worth the visit) click through to read his post from earlier in the week.

So instead of scrapping my post all together for fear of underwhelming readers with an all too similar post, I thought that I would write more about FeastVan and what it means to the community it is supporting – and why you should in turn support it for its final few days.

For those of you who don’t know what FeastVan is, here is a crash course:

FeastVan is a two and a half week dining event running from January 20th to February 5th which was created to help introduce diners to the incredible array of restaurants that East Vancouver has to offer.  FeastVan is a chance for foodies, casual eaters and Vancouver visitors alike to enjoy a selection of specially priced three-course meals from some of East Vancouver’s best restaurants.

Okay so this sounds a bit familiar, right?  Vancouver abounds with dining events throughout the year – what makes FeastVan so special?

First of all it focuses on and showcases the incredible and thriving East Side and the restaurants that make it a foodies dream come true.  With most menus ranging between $30-$35 for three courses, even those on a budget can afford to treat themselves all while supporting the Vancouver Inner City Back Pack Food Program .

So how exactly does your dinner help the program?  $1 from every specially priced three-course meal for lunch and/or dinner will go towards the Vancouver Inner-city Back Pack Food Program, and a percentage of the proceeds from every keg of R&B Brewing East Side Bitter will also go towards the program.

Participating Restaurants:

  • Au Petit Chavignol
  • Cafeteria
  • Campagnolo Roma
  • The Cascade Room
  • Founders Lounge (@ the Cultch)
  • Fray
  • Habit
  • Latitude
  • les amis du FROMAGE
  • Les Faux Bourgeois
  • R&B Brewing Co.
  • The Red Wagon
  • Two Chef’s and a Table
  • The Union Bar
  • Vancouver Alpen Club
  • The Waldorf

So that leads to the next question – what is Food Insecurity and how does the Vancouver Inner-city Back Pack Food Program help to combat this?

While I am well aware that people go hungry every single day in our city, it wasn’t until I became familiar with FeastVan that I had ever heard the term Food Insecurity.  For some reason this term hit me really hard emotionally – while I know what it is like to go hungry, I have no idea what it is like to suffer on a continual basis with not knowing where my next meal will come from, nor the brutal reality of having to choose safe shelter over food security and watch my children go to bed hungry night after night.

This is a choice that families who live in the Downtown East Side and Strathacona neighbourhoods must make, and it is an unfortunate reality that for many people living in those areas it is impossible to achieve both safe shelter and food security at the same time.

What the Vancouver Inner-city Back Pack Food Program does is assist some of the most in need people of these areas – inner-city elementary school aged children.  These children, who are from families that have the lowest median incomes in all of Canada, do not have consistent access to nutritious food staples.  This program aims to bridge the weekend gaps when school food programs are not running.  The Vancouver Inner-city Backpack Food Program will provide kid friendly, nutritious snacks and meals for food insecure children from Strathacona Elementary Schools over the weekend.

Access to healthy food on the weekends is vitally important for these children as hungry or undernourished children are more likely to become sick, miss school, exhibit behaviour problems, and fall behind in class.

The Vancouver Inner-city Back Pack Food Program and the food being provided will offer many benefits including increased ability to participate in recreation, closing the gap of food insecurity over the weekend, helping to improve both attention span and behaviour during the week in school, mentoring interpersonal and communications skills to the children who receive backpacks, as well as providing leadership and pre-employment training to youth volunteers.

Can’t make it out to dinner during FeastVan?  The Vancouver Inner-city Back Pack Food Program needs donations as well.  Here is a list of items that they are most in need of:

  • Brown/White rice cakes
  • Seaweed snack
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Granola bars without chocolate
  • Small snack boxes of raisins
  • Small packs of unsweetened apple/fruit sauce
  • Low sodium tetra pack or canned soups
  • Pasta and jarred pasta sauce
  • Low sugar/salt cereals
  • Canned salmon
  • Baby bel individual cheese portions
  • Cheese strings
  • Low sugar individual yogurt cups

For more information on FeastVan and the Vancouver Inner-city Back Pack Food Program visit the FeastVan website.

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Destin Jones is a community builder, storyteller and grassroots marketer in Vancouver, BC. Currently, she is the Director of Community at Change Heroes and volunteers as the Head of Marketing & Sponsorship for #SingItFwd. In her free time she can be found baking, pickling and experimenting with fermentation in her kitchen, sharing details via @yeastvan.