Nutrition Quest: Affordable food centre expands in the Downtown Eastside


On August 31, Quest Food Exchange held its grand opening at the new Union Gospel Mission building. Quest, a not-for-profit food exchange program that redistributes excess food to those in need, provides affordable and nutritious groceries to the city’s most vulnerable population.


They hope that the move from their previous location three blocks further west on Hastings Street last July will allow for more people to be serviced in a more pleasant environment.


“The new space [at 611 East Hastings St.] is larger and laid out differently, creating a more dignified and welcoming atmosphere,” says Lauren McGuire-Wood, Quest Food Exchange Community Relations Coordinator.


The organization estimates that 17 per cent of British Columbians experience food insecurity everyday with barriers including income level, mobility and proximity, while one-third of food produced ends up in landfills. Quest’s role is to make this nutritious food available to those who need it before it is wasted in landfills.


Quest Food Exchange has served the community through various capacities since 1989, beginning with sandwich deliveries to the homeless before a hot meal program. Eventually, Quest expanded to its present grocery store model in 2006.


“Quest Food Exchange is proud to be partnered with Union Gospel Mission to open our signature low-cost grocery store in Vancouver,” they wrote in a fact sheet announcing the grand opening.


“We are excited for the opportunity to build this partnership with such an amazing institution in the heart of the Downtown Eastside, a community built on the tenets of respect and acceptance.


We hope that this relationship will continue to flourish, with clients eventually using the services of both facilities.”


Quest operates three low-cost food stores, including their new East Hastings location and at 2020 Dundas St. in Vancouver and 13890 104th Ave in Surrey. Last year, Quest recorded 140,337 shopping trips to their low-cost food stores.


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