During this time of unprecedented changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is generous acts of kindness coming from institutions like Vancouver Community College (VCC) that are providing for those most in need. VCC has opened downtown kitchens as a meal-prep and distribution hub for those in Vancouver with barriers to food security during COVID-19. Thank you, VCC!
VCC is working on its ambitious and kind project alongside the City of Vancouver, local chefs, food suppliers, and agencies. The City of Vancouver reached out originally to VCC as the most at-risk communities, such as the Downtown Eastside residents and occupants of single-occupancy hotels. The City urgently requested that VCC assist in providing nutritious meals to these residents in such a difficult time.
VCC has taken up the challenge brought forth by the City of Vancouver. They have been preparing a huge meal and food delivery program that currently requires the creation of 2,000 meals. This occurs three times per week (1,000 lunches and 1,000 dinners). Each hamper prepared in VCC’s kitchens contains four meals, snacks, napkins, drinks, and cutlery. VCC chooses the menus based on the current supplies available, ensuring both hot and cold meals are made for people.
“VCC has been part of 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 happy to help our neighbours and friends,” says Ajay Patel, VCC president, and CEO.
Patel adds, “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.”
Those coordinating these outstanding programs include the culinary arts assistant department head Chef John Lewis, alongside several Red-Seal certified chefs in VCC’s own outstanding downtown facilities. They are then delivered to their locations by VCC Food Services. Strict health and safety measures are in place in consideration of staff and public health the entire way through food creation and delivery.
VCC offers a number of culinary programs to students, so they can gather great skills and work on community projects such as the one above. Some of their culinary programs include the following:
- Professional Cook 1 Plus
- Asian Culinary Arts
- Professional Cook 1 ESL
- Culinary Arts (Cook) Apprentice
- Professional Cook 1 High School
- Professional Cook 2
During unprecedented pandemic times, VCC’s generosity is an expression of the type of postsecondary institution they are! VCC gives its students job-ready skills. This is not only so they can start their careers on the right path, but are also rapidly able to jump into emergency projects. If you have a passion for community engagement and creativity, VCC’s chef programs may be just right for you!
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