Sola Gives Back: Quest Food Exchange

April 27, 2017

Quest Food Exchange

Sola Skincare is committed to being a company that gives back, supporting people and communities both locally and abroad. Every quarter, we donate a portion of our profits to a cause, charity, or non-profit organization that aligns with our vision for a better world.

This past quarter, we chose Quest Food Exchange, a Vancouver-area organization that aims to reduce hunger with dignity, build community, and foster sustainability. We asked Surindra, the marketing manager for the organization, a few questions about Quest Food Exchange:

How did your organization get started?

The humble beginnings of Quest Food Exchange started in 1989, when a youth group from Saint James Anglican Church delivered sandwiches to homeless people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). The public responded positively and the volunteers were inspired to continue their street outreach program. With a clear demand for healthy food in the DTES, Quest volunteers went from handing out sandwiches, to running a soup kitchen under the name “The Quest” in the basement of Saint James Anglican Church located at 303 East Cordova Street.

Who are the clients that you are serving?

Quest partners with an ever-increasing number of social service agencies in their focused communities of the Lower Mainland and beyond. We help their clients access healthy, affordable food in a dignified manner, thus enabling agencies to focus on their core development programs. Quest builds communities of like-minded individuals by working with social service agency partners such as:

  • Neighbourhood Houses
  • Hospices
  • Mental Health Organizations
  • Employment Training Programs
  • Seniors’ Centres
  • Shelters
  • Recovery Homes
  • HIV/AIDS Organizations
  • Schools and Daycare Centres
  • Food Banks
  • Churches

By taking care of the food needs of their clientele, Quest enables these agencies to focus their time, energy, and funding on their respective core strengths. This allows them to maximize the positive impact they can have on the needs of the community.

 Ongoing projects give our volunteers access to invaluable workshops and on-the-job training programs in order to promote increased self-esteem, make empowering choices, and supplement their food sources. For some, Quest has been an opportunity to gain practical work experience to get back into the job market.

How is your organization working to be more sustainable? 

Healthy Groceries

By redistributing surplus food, Quest is not only feeding people, we are reducing the amount of loss and waste from various branches of the food supply chain. Allowing food to decompose in the landfill is harmful to the environment, as it releases greenhouse gas emissions such as methane. Not only that, we are losing precious resources that go into food production, such as water and energy, and missing out on vital nutrients and sustenance from the food itself.

Since its outset, Quest has always been environmentally-minded. Recycling has been of great importance to our success. In 2005, we collaborated with EcoAction Canada effectively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and further reduced our waste by composting and recycling. Quest aims to reduce all food waste to zero. Through our “Zero Waste Project”, EcoAction Canada contributed to transform non-consumable solid food waste into livestock feed and compost for use by local farmers and community gardens.

We also distribute all non-organic materials such as food packaging to community services who have better use for certain items or are equipped with programs to safely process them, ultimately reducing landfill waste and harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Currently, Quest partners with Urban Impact, which helps small businesses implement effective recycling programs. Smithrite has also been integral in helping Quest to compost leftover food. As a result, we have received numerous awards for environmentally-sound business practices.

How can people help support Quest Food Exchange?

Quest Food Exchange Volunteers

  • Introduce us to potential food suppliers.
  • Assist us in finding real estate space to open more food markets.
  • Secure in-kind services from industry leaders to assist with operational needs such as trucks, equipment for our markets and distribution centres and software.
  • Volunteer: donate your time, see website for more details.
  • Engage with us on social media: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

To find out more about how Sola Skincare gives back, please click here.

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