Vancouver’s non-profit grocer opens third location

8/24/2011

Quest Food Exchange, a Vancouver-based organization whose goal is to move food bank users to self-sufficiency, is opening its third location Aug. 31.

“Instead of giving out the food, we’re offering it to them at low costs so they have their purchasing power,” said Lauren McGuire-Wood, Quest spokeswoman in an article in the Vancouver Sun. “It’s really about the dignity aspect being restored to them.”

Quest is partnered more than 300 social service agencies to help transition their clients from food bank usage.

The organization opened its first location in Vancouver in 2006; the third store is in the Union Gospel Mission building in the Lower Mainland.

When there is a surplus, some 40 suppliers bring foodstuff to Quest every week, rather than throw it away.

Some $3.9 million worth of food was received last year.

Food is offered at a 30 per cent markdown and includes non-perishables and household items.

What attracts those on a limited income to Quest is the quality of food compared to what food banks offer.

Shoppers are referred to Quest by social agencies, with the organization redistributing 5.77 million pounds of food that would end up in landfill.

In British Columbia, Quest redistributes one per cent of food that would have been thrown away.

While the items are near or at expiry date, they are put through a quality control inspection test by Quest, such as test tastes, before sold.

Quest plans to open a new location in Richomnd in the future.

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