Donations allow PHS to innovate and keep critical programs growing.
Generous contributions from B2Gold Corp. over the past two years are allowing us to expand our response in the arenas of food insecurity, health care and harm reduction and continued support of Indigenous culture and healing.
Addressing food insecurity is an important piece of the work PHS does every day. It may be hard to imagine that our food program serves upwards of 1,500 nutritious meals daily, operating out of two commercial kitchens located within supportive housing units. At Alexander Street Community and Station Street a dedicated team coordinates the meals for residents, service users and shelter guests, including special dietary requirements, 365 days a year.
Co-managed by Jeff Curry and Rory O’Brien, the program has grown along with PHS, now producing more meals than ever before. It is a complex operation, with a highly organized team – and the output they produce is nothing short of outstanding.
Food program success
Thanks to the donation from B2Gold, PHS was able to purchase a new cargo van equipped with warming bags and individual containers. The van has been critical to the food program, which has to manage the demands of delivering hot meals to an array of locations on a complicated schedule.
Previously, deliveries were coordinated by a team of cyclists known as the Food Peddlers, but PHS needed to update the system in 2020 due to COVID restrictions and vastly increased food production.
“Most of the PHS projects get one meal and some get two meals per day,” said Rory. “We have a partnership with Vancouver Food Bank and collect donations from them, and the van also allows us to make fruit deliveries once a week.”
The new food van has been an essential part of the program’s ongoing success.
Making a difference
In 2020, B2Gold approached PHS as part of its commitment to supporting Vancouver community groups through the pandemic. They donated $250,000 to PHS in 2020, and a further $200,000 in 2021.
“We are pleased to be working with valuable local community organizations that provide the much-needed social programs for food security, health services, shelter and housing to Metro Vancouver’s most vulnerable,” said Liane Kelly, a director and advisor of B2Gold’s Canadian CSR Fund Committee.
In addition to the food program van, the donation in 2020 was also used to increase our medical clinic accessibility during the peak of Covid. The Columbia St. Community Clinic was able to quickly implement a screening service and remain fully operational throughout the pandemic.
“During the early months of the COVID 19 pandemic, there was a dramatic shift in primary care to providing telemedicine rather than in-person care,” said PHS Medical Director Dr. Christy Sutherland.
“Many of our patients at PHS are homeless and do not have a phone. As well they do not have access to computers. We were very motivated to continue an in-person component to our clinical care, so that this population had access to care.”
Dignity and quality of life
With the newest funding announced in late 2021, PHS will implement some exciting projects that will further advance the care of the community we serve.
These funds will allow us to increase access to dental care for uninsured or under-insured members of our community. Oral care is an essential component of dignity and quality of life.
B2Gold’s donation also allows us to expand a new initiative that offers grants to Indigenous community members for wellness projects and travel to home communities. The grants are funding an array of creative community-created healing projects including an Indigenous resource library and growing traditional medicines within an intercity community garden.
Importantly, we are also using these funds for harm reduction and addressing the opioid poisoning crisis. This donation is funding research and development in access to safe supply and funding a Peer Navigator position to operate a drug-checking spectrometer at the Molson Overdose Prevention site that will allow community members to test illicit drugs for dangerous contaminants.
All of the support we receive from our donors and organizations, like the B2Gold CSR Fund, keeps us at the forefront of innovation and able to provide critical resources and programs – no matter the challenge.
We are especially thankful to them and to everyone who helps us do more.