Opening in 2012, Saige Community Food Bank has provided a low barrier food share in East Vancouver twice a month and started a Community Kitchen in 2016.
In 2020, we started the Gift of Food that provides a pop up food share in the DTES for an SRO (Single room occupancy) that specifically houses individuals from the Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Diverse community. In 2021 we started a Food Forest with some volunteers and a grant from UBC to start a community garden in Sahili Park.
We focus on creating relationships with our patrons that may not otherwise have social outlets. We have made a real difference in helping members of our community have enough to eat, no matter what challenges they’re facing. We specialize in food recovery that is 90% fresh produce and baked goods donated from local organizations. Everyone has the right to get healthy food options with dignity and pride.
Community helping Community.
The Saige Community Food bank is a twofold, nonprofit food share, that provides a low barrier safe space for two-spirit, transgender and gender non-conforming or queer individuals. We use food recovery and local donations to provide healthy food options, as well as support from their LGBTQ2+ peers and allies. It is open to any individuals in need of food, or that cannot access government food banks because of barriers such as ID, lack of housing, income or other specifics needed to be accepted.
This food bank offers fresh produce and baked goods, among various other donations including clothing, toiletries, books and more
Why a Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Diverse Safe Space Food Share?
Two-Spirit, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals are a high-risk group due to challenges regarding access to medical care, both gender-related and non-gender related. Their health is also challenged by higher levels of violence, lack of social support, difficulties obtaining employment and housing, in addition to mental health conditions and suicide, brought on by the stress of multiple experiences of discrimination. Even when they are able to gain employment, they tend to have a lower income on average than non-transgender individuals with similar education levels, due to lack of opportunities.
History behind the name
Saige, a young trans woman who had been rejected by her family, found it difficult to access quantities of food through the local food bank system due to issues of identification, itinerancy, discrimination and harassment. The barriers she encountered and the difficulties she experienced were confirmed by a number of other individuals in the trans community who had had similar experiences themselves. Unable to cope with the continual experiences of stigma and intolerance she encountered in every area of her life, she was tragically driven to suicide as a result of such treatment. The food bank is named the Saige Community Food Bank in her honour, as her life was an inspiration to many people in the trans community and because of her interest in having a safe space to obtain food, this food bank was created.