AUgust 7th, 2019
Meet Andrea, a kind, colourful and dedicated woman whom we’ve had the pleasure of working alongside with for the past two years. Originally from Ontario, Andrea moved to Vancouver over 9 years ago. Driven by her taste for adventure and a growing need for a change in lifestyle, Andrea and her husband set out for a cross country trip that would eventually take them to the West Coast. “We spent the majority of our trip in BC and fell in love with the ocean and the mountains, so we decided to move here.”
Andrea is a pro-recycler and zero-waste ambassador in her everyday life. When we asked if she had always been a steward of the environment, she said “Growing up, there were certain traits instilled in me in terms of reusing things [...] but as I have gotten older and moved to the West Coast, I have been confronted with the direct effects of waste on our environment and the ocean. That just did it for me!” On her quest to share her efforts and success on a wider scale, Andrea joined Food Stash Foundation in July 2017.
And so the story grows…
Andrea has been an active part of the Foundation since its early stages. “I started volunteering with the Food Connection Program, which at that point, didn’t even have a name (laughing). I was just doing deliveries on my bicycle, loading up my panniers and then some, strapping garbage bags to my bike rack.” A year later, when the Rescued Food Box Program came along, Andrea joined in and has been volunteering with both programs on a weekly basis since then.
“Food is definitely my love language, and having something that incorporates my love of food and enables me to give back by helping other people provide food for their families and loved ones...it just vibes with my values and where I want to spend my time and energy.”
You see, Andrea is no stranger when it comes to volunteering or working with charities. She has worked with grass root nonprofits for most of her life.
“That’s where my heart is, helping nonprofits make a difference.”
She currently works for SCWIST (pronounced “squist”), an organization that promotes science and tech for women and girls. Andrea’s work with SCWIST goes beyond promoting tech jobs for women and girls however, the organization has for mission to empower, include, inspire, connect and sustain women and girls in STEM fields. From outreach programs for youth and immigrant women, to networking events and mentoring opportunities, SCWIST is working towards removing barriers, raising awareness and boosting the status of women in the workplace.
“We host a lot of networking events because a lot of these women (immigrant women) just arrived in Canada and are fully qualified in their field, but because of immigration laws, they can’t work [...] networking events allow them to stay connected and current in their field until they are able to work.”
Working with SCWIST part-time allows Andrea to stay involved in her community and share her love of food and passion for sustainability on a wider scale. As part of her volunteer role with Food Stash, Andrea witnesses not only the incredible quantities of food destined for the landfill but also all the wasteful packaging that comes with it. As an advocate for zero waste, we asked Andrea what she thought of the packaging and waste she sees going through our warehouse.
“I see all the plastic and it’s really frustrating [...] you really become aware of which companies are creating waste through terrible packaging choices and then you think, maybe in my personal life, these are brands I will not support.”
With the help of people like Andrea, Food Stash tackles this issue by recycling, redirecting and composting the waste produced by the food industry in a responsible manner, but this is only part of the problem. “Companies need to be held accountable for the waste they produce...the solution needs to start from the source.”
“The amazing thing about working with grass root nonprofits is that anything is possible, they are not bound by structures and politics [...] the leaps and bounds that Food Stash has made since I first started are pretty awesome [...] continuously finding new partnerships, distribution channels or ways to deal with food waste, like using their compost to feed rescued farm animals in the lower mainland, is awesome and I am happy to be part of an organization like that”
Thank you Andrea for sharing your good vibes, sense of humour and, not to mention, your delicious rescued banana muffins with us. We are incredibly grateful to have you as part of our Food Stash Family.