Food Bank

Food Bank

SOPHIE CO
Food Bank Coordinator

GABRIELA PIEKARCZYK
Food Bank Assistant Coordinator

KYLE MCCARTHY
Food Bank Assistant Coordinator

TRISTIN KENNEDY
Food Bank Assistant Coordinator

LIFE 0023 (OLD SUB)
MON: 12-7PM
THUR: 12-7PM

 

foodbank@ams.ubc.ca
604 822-5627

Food Bank

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Staff Access to the Food Bank – FAQ

In May 2023, we made the difficult decision to limit Food Bank access to students only. The result of this decision was that UBC Staff and Faculty were no longer able to access our services. The FAQ below answers some of the most commonly asked questions in relation to this decision.  

  • The AMS Food Bank receives a lot of funding, why do you say you can’t afford to serve staff?
    • UBC has stipulated in their funding agreement that the $450,000 the Food Bank receives must be directed to students only; UBC staff and faculty cannot be supported with this money. Our total food purchasing for the year was about $500,000 for 25,203 interactions. This equates to just $19.84 per student visit in 2023/24. With rising food prices and growing student demand of the Food Bank, this amount per student visit will be reduced as our funding for 2024/25 is expected to remain the same as last year.  
  • The AMS Food Bank throws away food that could go to UBC staff. 
    • Grocery stores donate to us when they can no longer sell a product because it has reached its ‘Best Before’ date or is damaged. Food safety is our top priority. While we always do our best to recover as much food donated from our partners as possible, we throw out any food items that are no longer safe to consume before the donated items make it to our shelves.
    • We do not throw out purchased food. We manage our inventory very carefully to ensure all the food we purchase is given to students.
  • Why has the AMS never advocated to UBC on behalf of staff?
    • Twice the AMS has brought up the issue of food insecurity among UBC staff with the university. In both cases UBC was sympathetic, but didn’t take any action to address the situation.
    • The AMS’ role is to advocate for the students of UBC Vancouver. The decision to prioritize student access to the Food Bank over UBC staff was not an easy decision to make. We sympathize with the situation UBC staff are in, however we believe the solution to addressing food insecurity among UBC staff and faculty lies with the University. Reinstating UBC staff access to the Food Bank as a way to pressure the University into addressing food insecurity among their staff will only increase the hardship on students, because there will be less food available to them.
  • What are UBC staff and faculty supposed to do?  
    • There are a number of other food banks and food security resources in the broader community that are open to everyone. While we recognize that these resources may require a means test and longer a registration process, these services are publicly and privately funded to deliver high-quality nutritious food to the communities they serve. This is a list of potential resources: Food Security Initiatives
  • Why are you pitting students against UBC staff and faculty? 
    • As a student union that is funded mostly by student fees, we have an obligation to prioritize students. We recognize UBC staff and faculty, like students, are dealing with food insecurity. Our intention is not to pit students against UBC staff and faculty; rather prioritize students who have less opportunity to access other food security resources. 
       
  • Why did you hold the Special General Meeting in the summer, when there are fewer students on campus?  
    • The BC Societies Act requires us to hold a Special General Meeting within 60 days of receiving a verified petition, which in this instance was June 4. If we had received the petition later in the year, the meeting would have been held later in the year.  
  • The AMS should fund the Food Bank by making cuts in other areas.  
    • The AMS’ operating budget is primarily made-up from student fees. We prioritize those fees towards advocacy, programs, events and services that benefit students. Using student money to support UBC staff and faculty would mean a reduction in the programs, services, events and other benefits we provide students.  
  • If UBC staff can’t access the $450,000 UBC provides, reinstating access for UBC staff and faculty would have little impact on students as their funding would be largely untouched.  
    • Last year, through sponsorships, we were able to increase our food purchasing budget to $500,000. If visitation was to remain the same this year as the previous year, redirecting this $50,000 from students to UBC staff and faculty would decrease the amount available per student visit from $19.84 to $17.85; resulting in a lower quantity or variety of food available to students. 
  • Where is UBC in all of this? 
    • We’re not able to comment on UBC’s plans regarding food insecurity among UBC staff and faculty. That is a question best directed toward the university.
        
  • Why aren’t the staff and faculty unions advocating for their members? 
    • Similarly, we’re not able to comment on the work of the staff and faculty unions.   

The AMS Food Bank is a food relief service for UBC students in need. We offer various perishable and non-perishable foods, personal hygiene supplies, and information on additional resources in and around Vancouver. The Food Bank receives supplies from a number of generous sponsors, but otherwise relies on donations from the community to stock the food bank. We go by the motto of: give when you can, take when you need.

Thank you to our sponsors

Save on Foods company logo

Have you used the Food Bank? We’d love to hear from you.