Food Tokens An Alternative to Giving Change
A Vancouver initiative that strives to build community by encouraging human connections and to feed people at the same time is spreading across the country. Two restaurants in Toronto are adopting the Save on Meats Sandwich Token Program, which allows people to purchase tokens for a hot breakfast sandwich and give them to people in need.
The project is based out of the restored Save on Meats butcher shop in the Downtown Eastside. Launched in November by owner Mark Brand, it sees about 60-100 tokens redeemed every day.
Anita Smith of the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective told the Province that handing out tokens has helped the collective establish a dialogue with people on the street: “It helps us bridge the gap—we can tell them about all the services we have to offer.” If the tokens are proving effective, the community could stand to gain more by expanding the program to offer people more food options.
Brand’s newest project is also geared toward community building and food security. He’s teaming up with Joanne Griffiths, the cofounder of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, to revive the inoperative A Better Life Foundation and launch a meal program for people in assisted-living and low-income housing this May.
A Better Life Foundation will kick off with a gala fundraiser at the Vancouver Art Gallery on February 23.