Frequently Asked Questions

Is VCFS a food bank?

No.  Instead, VCFS operates a small emergency food service to low-income families with children under 19, living in Vancouver and Burnaby.  Eligible individuals and families are able to receive this service during an emergency, or usually once every 90 days (3 times per year).  The aim is to provide individuals and families with enough food until they receive their next income or visit the food bank (for more information please phone 604-876-3601 or visit http://www.foodbank.bc.ca/).  Also, all are welcome to enjoy a warm breakfast and hot beverages prepared by dedicated staff and volunteers, every Monday and Friday from 9:00AM -10:00AM in the multi-purpose room.

What is Food Distribution Day?

Every Wednesday between 9am – 11am, free food hampers are given away to all low-income people in our community. First come, first serve while supplies last. No ID or personal information required. We share what we can.

Which days of the week does VCFS give sliced bread away to the public?

There are no set days.  Bread distribution varies according to when and how much bread is donated to VCFS.  Bread is distributed upon availability, to first come first served while quantities last.

Is VCFS a thrift store?

No, the nearest Salvation Army Thrift Store is located at 261 12th Avenue East, Vancouver, BC, V5T 3L1.  They can be reached at 604-874-4721, or visit http://www.thriftstore.ca/british-columbia/ for more details.

Does VCFS deliver or pickup furniture and household goods?

No, VCFS does not operate a pickup or delivery service.  To donate new or gently used furniture, please contact the Homestart Foundation (http://www.homestart.ca/donations.htm).  Homestart picks up in Vancouver, Richmond, and some areas of Burnaby.

Why are men eligible for thrift store clothing vouchers and women are not?

Clothing vouchers can be accessed by low-income individuals including men, women, and children  living in Vancouver and Burnaby.  Visit our office with identification to receive a voucher which can be redeemed at any Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Does VCFS operate a Family Tracing Service?

No.  For Family Tracing inquiries, please phone 778-834-8107.

Does VCFS operate any Pro Bono legal services?

This service is currently unavailable, please check back at a later date.  In the meantime, you may be interested in our Moving Forward – Personal Development Support Program: “Are you stuck?  Are you ready to take the next step?  Do you want to improve your situation relating to housing, education, employment, recovery, etc.?  Moving Forward provides one-on-one planning towards achieving goals and taking action.  The case worker will also provide you with access to community resources, advocacy, and follow-up support.  Call 604-872-7676 to set up an appointment.”

Does VCFS supply bus fare/Translink tickets to individuals?

No.  Unfortunately, VCFS is unable to provide bus fare/Translink tickets.

Does VCFS help with travel expenses?

No.  Unfortunately, VCFS is unable to aid in its client’s travel both inside and outside of British Columbia.

Why is the Community Drop-In Breakfast no longer held on Wednesdays?

Due to the changing needs and trends within the Mount Pleasant and Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhoods, VCFS has decided to allocate certain resources differently and shift focus to areas seemingly requiring more attention.

What is a Bell Ringer?

A Bell Ringer is someone who stands beside the iconic Salvation Army Christmas Kettle and receives donations from passers-by. They ring bells where permitted to subtly remind people of those in need at Christmas in our community. Kettles are typically located in malls and outside retail stores from mid-November to Christmas Eve.

How much time is required of a volunteer kettle worker?

Bell Ringers typically stand by a kettle 2 to 4 hours at both indoor and outdoor locations. Ideally, it is best if volunteers commit to 8 to 10 hours throughout the course of the Christmas Kettle Campaign which runs from mid-November to Christmas Eve.

What is the Christmas Kettle Campaign?

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign is a fundraising effort that occurs each year during the Christmas season. Kettles are found in 2000 locations across Canada and are an opportunity for the public to donate whatever funds they can to support the work of The Salvation Army during the Christmas season and throughout the year.

The tradition of Salvation Army kettles began in San Francisco in 1891 with Captain Joseph McFee. Captain McFee was looking for a way to help provide meals to families in need and recalled the “Simpson’s pot” – a large pot used in Liverpool, England into which passers-by threw charitable donations. Captain McFee decided to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing. By strategically placing the kettle, he was able to attract donations from those going to and from the ferry boats.

Now, over 100 years have passed and beyond providing Christmas dinners, the money raised at kettles is also used to provide clothing, shelter, food, toys, financial assistance and counselling year-round. The Salvation Army’s holiday fund-raising activities play a crucial role in sharing the spirit of the season with families in need. The Salvation Army does its best to ensure that no family goes without food, no child is without presents under the tree and that Christmas is a time of hope and healing.

What happens to the money raised through Christmas Kettles?

For too many Canadians, the necessities of life needed for basic human dignity are out of reach. Poverty is the root cause that puts dignity out of reach for millions of Canadians, making access to everyday needs, like food, clothing and shelter, difficult.

Funds raised through donations made at Christmas kettles, together with other sources of funds, help provide direct, compassionate, hands-on service to 1.6 million people each year in Canada, restoring hope and dignity to those who might otherwise remain invisible in society.

How does The Salvation Army determine where kettle funds will be used?

While Salvation Army Christmas kettles can be found all across Canada, and around the world, each Christmas kettle location is organized and managed by a local Salvation Army unit. The funds raised stay in the community in which they were donated and are used to support local Salvation Army programs for people in need.