North Delta is getting its first full-time food bank this month, and Delta council has contributed $10,000 to help get it off the ground.
Surrey-based Guru Nanak Food Bank (GNFB) will “soft open” its new North Delta location — located in the former Southridge Hardware at 11188 84th Ave. — “soon” to provide food assistance over the holiday season, with an official opening to come at a later date. The soft opening will take place sometime this month, though a specific date had yet to be announced as of the Reporter’s press time.
North Delta location will be the first full-time food bank in Delta and, at 6,500 square feet, the largest of GNFB’s three storefronts. GNFB operates out its flagship location in Surrey (101 – 15299 68 Ave.), which opened July 1, 2020, and maintains an outlet in Abbotsford, which opened to the public on Feb. 6, 2022.
The “no boundaries” facility will serve all comers regardless of faith or city of residence, and will be open seven days a week — with one day dedicated for seniors. Organizers say the food bank is intended to complement, not replace, existing services in the community.
On Monday (Dec. 5), following a presentation by GNFB general secretary Neeraj Walia, mayor and council voted unanimously to contribute $10,000 to the North Delta food bank and presented a cheque for that amount to GNFB organizers who were in attendance at the North Delta Centre for the Arts.
“Earlier this year, I made a motion in council to open a much-needed food bank in North Delta to support those families in need. I am very pleased to have worked alongside the Guru Nanak Food Bank leadership to organize the official opening of the North Delta Food Bank — all within the year,” Mayor George Harvie said in a press release.
“Hunger does not know municipal boundaries, and it is time that we support those in Delta who need assistance from the food bank.”
Coun. Jessie Dosanjh, who introduced the GNFB delegation at Monday night’s meeting, applauded the group for stepping up to fill a gap in services in the community and assist those in need.
“It is important that everyone in need can access food assistance no matter what one’s background is,” Dosanjh said in a press release. “Residents of Delta from all walks of life will be able to access food assistance through the Guru Nanak Food Bank.”
Currently, North Delta is serviced by the Surrey Food Bank, however residents registered with the food bank must either travel to its Newton office (1 – 13478 78 Ave.) — a not-insignificant barrier for some — or pick up from its North Delta distribution centre, held every second Tuesday morning at Northside Community Church (11300 84 Avenue).
Other food assistance programs in North Delta include Community Harvest at Crossroads United Church (7655 Scott Rd.), where on the first and third Sunday of the month residents can bring their own reusable grocery bag to receive a selection of fresh produce, and the “Nick’s Nook” free food pantries, located outside Northside Community Church, New Hope Church (11838 88th Ave.) and Sunshine Ridge Baptist Church (6230 120 St., Surrey).
Deltassist also has its Bread Gleaning Program, where bread donated by Monte Cristo Bakery is distributed weekly to various community partners, and Community Fund (Emergency Food Cupboard), which provides emergency stop-gap food, food vouchers, bus tickets and information on other resources to assist low-income Delta residents in crisis situations.
Food bank services in Ladner and Tsawwassen are provided by the South Delta Food Bank, which is run out of Lighthouse Church in Ladner and distributes food Wednesday mornings.
During Monday’s presentation to council, Walia said GNFB is still looking for a permanent home, noting the organization’s two other sites are “temporary,” and floated the possibility of moving its head office and distribution centre to the North Delta location.
According to Walia’s presentation, GNFB now has around 5,500 “active recipients” and has distributed $10 million worth of items between its food bank operations and “Welcome Canada” program, which provides international students with a new mattress, blanket, pillow, bed sheets and pillow cover, as well as a grocery voucher. The program has helped roughly 17,000 students in their first month in Canada since it began in 2017.
GNFB is a registered non-profit with the Canada Revenue Agency. and its operations are entirely supported by donations and run by volunteers. For more information, visit gnfb.ca.