Our Non-Profit Highlight this week is A Better Life Foundation. Whenever we have an opportunity to share the inspiring work of BC non-profits, we do!
We spoke with A Better Life Foundation’s Manager of Community Engagement, Evan Sidwell, about their goals, programs and their incredible contribution to the city of Vancouver.
A Better Life Foundation – Empowering Through Food Security
A Better Life Foundation operates in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to increase food security for women and children fleeing violence, street entrenched youth and folks living well below the poverty line by providing meals, training and employment opportunities. Their goal is to end unnecessary hunger in Vancouver.
We are excited to share A Better Life Foundation (ABLF) with you!
Why and when was ABLF founded?
A Better Life Foundation was founded in 2012 with the mission of increasing food security in the Downtown Eastside. Through the operation of Save On Meats, the owners saw a clear gap in dignified, quality food accessibility for many DTES residents. They partnered with Atira Women’s Resources to begin a daily meal program for ~100 residents. Most of the meal program was covered by BC Housing, but the budget was not enough to produce a high quality meal. A Better Life Foundation was created to raise funds to subsidize the cost of the meal program. Since then, the daily program has grown to feed over 850 individuals (some meals exclusively covered by ABLF) and supports neighbourhood cooking classes.
How big is ABLF’s team?
Technically, we have just one employee at this time (me!). However, our interim managing director is highly involved, as well as an in-house graphic designer and an event coordinator who work on other projects as well as supporting ABLF. The credit of the success of ABLF should go to the team at Save On Meats who are cooking the meals daily. The team is primarily two employees who were once facing poverty themselves.
How did you get involved with ABLF?
I’m born and raised in Vancouver. I’ve seen the problem of poverty grow in our city and it pains me to see so many people suffering in such an affluent city. I was also discontent with my previous career so I began reaching out to contacts related to the Downtown Eastside. Mark Brand, founder of ABLF, was one of them. Two weeks later I was hired.
What has been the most rewarding moment working for ABLF?
Moments during Plenty of Plates are always the highlight. I get to create an environment where there is no judgement or stigmas, just love and compassion in a room full of people of different backgrounds. The appreciation that flows from the volunteers and our guests is often overwhelming. I gain so much wisdom and insight through my interactions during this night.
How can others contribute to ABLF’s work?
Want to support BC non-profits like the one above?