Salvation Army Vancouver Healthy Eating Kitchen Serves up Skills for a Brighter Future


The Salvation Army BC – Six months ago Angela and her family lived under hazardous clouds of smog in Shanghai, China’s biggest city. Bouts of dangerous pollution had become more frequent and, due to serious health risks, the trio left a comfortable life and everything they knew.

Challenges of Immigration

“We came to Vancouver for many reasons,” says Angela, “including a clean environment, educational opportunities and moderate weather. But moving wasn’t an easy process.”

Adjusting to a new community and culture was challenging for Angela. Speaking little English made it difficult for her to make friends, resulting in social isolation. Financial pressures forced her to seek help from The Salvation Army’s food bank and separation anxiety from leaving family and a country she loved was, at times, overwhelming.

“When I arrived in Canada, I didn’t focus on being successful,” says Angela. “I just tried to get through.”

More Than a Cooking Lesson

“Sally Ann’s Kitchen exists to help vulnerable people such as new immigrants and single moms overcome obstacles such as poor nutrition, budgeting and meal planning,” says Joseph Fong of The Salvation Army’s Vancouver Community and Family Services. “Many participants live in the Downtown Eastside, an area noted for a high incidence of poverty.”

In October 2013 the program’s first set of 12 graduates were presented with certificates. Ranging in age from 20 to 60, the diverse group of women learned that they don’t need a lot of money to eat well.

Five cycles will be held in January, March, April, June and July with the goal of creating a Healthy Eating Food Swap.

“A food swap is a way to exchange homemade food and spice up your recipe file,” says Fong. “It also provides an opportunity to build friendships in your local community with people you can count on for support.”

Angela’s Road to Success

From learning how to cook from scratch in a cost-effective manner to knowing how to read labels and shop for healthy ingredients, Angela says the program has helped her outweigh the struggles of starting over.

“I know how to make 12 new dishes such as black bean soup and green curry chicken,” says Angela with pride. “More than that, I’ve made new friends, improved my language skills, have a sense of belonging and feel useful again.

“Sally Ann’s Kitchen has had a huge impact on my life.”  Click here for original article.