It’s been an incredible first year of Phoenix Society’s Free Meal Program, which launched in late January amid the pandemic to provide hot, nutritious food to those in need.
When Phoenix Society launched this program in late January, we did so to help fill a need. Many of the free meal services in our community had been put on hold or suspended operations due to the inability to serve food safely amid the pandemic. With our Mobile Community Kitchen, we have the ability to meet those in need where they are at, serving food in safe, single-use recyclable containers in a safer outdoor setting where the guests can more easily socially distance.
Everyone deserves a hot meal and we are thrilled to be able to help feed those in need during what is a very hard time for us all. Giving back and building community, connection and hope is what we are all about at Phoenix.
Phoenix Head Chef Prem Singh oversees the program and says he’s had many memorable experiences in the program’s first year. One in particular has stuck in Prem’s mind, when a woman at a meal service pulled him aside and asked to speak with him.
“We went to the side of the truck and she held my hand for a couple of minutes and said ‘Prem, I want to thank you for bringing the food truck and the meals here to serve to the community.’ This is why our team does what we do,” he recalled.
Phoenix Society’s Director of Operations Stephanie Volpiana has led the program since it was just an idea. She’s helped with everything from locating the truck to working on the design to achieving the permits required to operate.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity to be a part of this program, especially during a time like COVID where people who are unhoused and have food insecurity have an even harder time finding nutrition. I feel very privileged to be involved in an organization that sees this as important,” says Stephanie.
FEEDING THE NEED: Testimonials
“Food is essential to health and wellbeing and the Surrey Food Bank is very pleased to be a partner in this amazing program. The Phoenix Flame BBQ food truck has become such a wonderful addition to our network of services that our clients are able to access. The quality of the meals and the warmth of the Phoenix staff are beyond stellar. Our clients and volunteers are so appreciative of the variety of the meals and we are always happy to see the truck roll into our lot! A big thank you to the Phoenix Society for the opportunity to collaborate and for helping us foster a nourished and thriving community.”
– Feezah Jaffer, Executive Director, Surrey Food Bank
“When the pandemic hit, we lost a lot of volunteers at our organization. We were very short staffed and we actually had to close our doors so people from the outside couldn’t come in. When Phoenix came to us, we were ecstatic. This helped us serve those who are outside. When the Phoenix food truck started coming, you could see the impact it had on all the guests we were serving who couldn’t come into our shelter. Every time the food truck comes in, it brightens things up. People smile, people love it. The impact that it has is incredible. It brings so much joy to so many people. We’re so grateful and hope to continue this partnership.”
– Romeo Kabanda, Director of Operations, Surrey Urban Mission
“Our guests look forward to the food truck days each week. They all rave about how amazing the pulled pork sandwiches are.”
– Wayne Kallen, Shelter Coordinator, Surrey Urban Mission
“The slogan on the truck stands out for me… ‘Feed the Need.’ We appreciate their service.”
– Tanner, ‘The Cove’ Shelter Guest, Surrey Urban Mission
“Thank you very much. I really appreciate the meals. So does my landlord Betty. I thank City Dream Centre and Phoenix Society. You people are doing great work and we love the meals.”
– Darryl, Senior, City Dream Centre client
“SHARE Society serves over 4,000 people each month through our Food Banks in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. We work hard to bring fresh, healthy food to those who need it most. When our clients see the Phoenix Flame BBQ Truck pull into the Food Bank, they cheer out loud! This partnership between Phoenix Society and SHARE Society has brought smiles and hope to the people we serve, and we are grateful.”
– Claire MacLean, CEO, SHARE Family & Community Services Society