YMCA of Greater Vancouver
Woodward’s YMCA Centre
Opened in July 2013, the Woodward’s YMCA Centre serves families living in the Downtown East Side (DTES) and Strathcona. In these inner-city neighbourhoods, many people have physical and emotional needs that require additional supports for success.
The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is among Canada’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods , with some of the highest rates of drug addiction, poverty, housing insecurity, and disease in Canada. It has one of the lowest household incomes in Canada at $13,691, and one of the highest child poverty rates in the country, with 44.6% of children under 6 living under the poverty line; as many as 80% of Aboriginal children in the area live under the poverty line.
Over 40% of all families are lone parent households; the percentage goes to 50% with regard to Aboriginal families. Estimates are that as many as 70% of DTES sexworkers are Aboriginal women, with an average of three or more children.
Food Security & Healthy Eating Habits
Securing food and housing are the two biggest challenges for the families. We have a fully functional kitchen and a secondary kitchen and are seeking funding for a full-time cook to support food security activities at the centre in 2015.
Our goal is to continue to provide, at no extra cost to families, healthy meals (breakfast and hot lunch) and snacks for the children every day. On Wednesday nights we’d like to offer a hot meal program for families, so that they can spend some quality time together and participate in a healthy family activity.
Over a one year period this translates into over 9600 breakfasts, 9600 hot lunches, 18,000 snacks and 52 weekly dinners.
Additional funds will allow the YMCA to expand our programming beyond food security to have a greater impact on the healthy eating practices of our families. Priority programs include:
- A Community Kitchen where families can come together as a group to learn to cook inexpensive, easy and healthy meals to take home to their families
- Healthy Food Bins of seasonal produce distributed weekly to support YMCA families’ healthy eating habits at home
Visit their website for more info!