Covey’s Cupboard Provides More Than Just Food

Jackson’s first interactions with CHV were through his visits to the Drop-In Centre. Here, he would take advantage of Covey’s Cupboard, on a weekly basis. He was limited in what foods he could take, because he wasn’t able to prepare any food himself. He would only take snacks and food that didn’t require any meal prep. But he loved to browse — he would look through the fridge and freezer of Covey’s Cupboard and talk about the various foods that he enjoyed cooking, and the different meals he was looking forward to preparing once he got his own place.

A few months later, Jackson secured housing. It was the first time in over a year that he had his own accommodation. The first time that he used Covey’s Cupboard after he moved, was an exciting time for him, as he chose food that he’d never been able to take before. He took pasta, sauce and ground beef. This was the first meal that he had learned how to cook, when he first moved out on his own. He excitedly described his plans to go home and make this meal in his kitchen. The next day, he proudly sent a picture of his pasta dish.

The beginning of Jackson’s housing venture was a bit rocky. There were issues with his subsidy cheques and he was really tight on cash. One day, when he visited the Drop-In Centre, he asked for two meals to go. A youth worker noticed this and, as the weekend was approaching, provided him with another bag of food, knowing that he was struggling a little.

Although Jackson was provided with information about other food resources in the community, he said that he preferred Covey’s Cupboard, because he enjoyed interacting with the CHV staff and because he never felt judged. He said that he felt a sense of community at Covenant House Vancouver, and felt no shame when he asked for help. Jackson told staff about his experiences as a child when his mom took him with her when she shopped at food banks. The experiences were very negative, in Jackson’s eyes, but said that coming to CHV and accessing Covey’s Cupboard didn’t feel like a charity handout, and he didn’t feel embarrassed.

Jackson is one of many youth who rely on Covey’s Cupboard as a source of weekly sustenance. Covey’s Cupboard is an essential service that helps youth maintain a sense of dignity, while accessing food supports. Having access to a food, within the drop-in space that youth already feel comfortable in provides CHV staff with a great opportunity to talk to youth about food security and the programs and services that CHV can provide to support youth on their journeys to hope-filled futures.

Covey’s Cupboard needs your help!

The rising costs of food makes it even harder for vulnerable youth to attain foods that support their nutritional needs. Many youth show up to Covenant House malnourished. Being nutritionally vulnerable has significant ramifications including: poor health, which is a barrier to obtaining and maintaining employment; possible impairment of cognitive and physiological functions; increase risk of infections; and exacerbating depression and substance abuse.

Alone, Covey’s Cupboard cannot keep up with the increasing demand for food.

Can you help?

Here is a list of some of Covey’s Cupboard’s most needed items.

Dry Goods:

• Rice (white/brown)
• Macaroni & Cheese
• Noodle and Rice Mixes (such as Hamburger Helper)
• Pasta
• Powdered Milk
• Soup Mixes (ramen)
• Cereal (Hot & Cold)
• Beans  
• Coffee
• Tea
• Powdered Juice
• Flour
• Sugar
• Pancake Mix
• Pancake Syrup
• Cookies
• Crackers
• Mixed nuts  

Canned/Jarred Items:

• Soup
• Tomato Sauces
• Pasta Sauces
• Canned Ravioli
• Vegetables (beans, chickpeas, corn)
• Fruits
• Cooking Oil  
• Peanut Butter
• Jelly
• Pudding
• Fruit Juice
• Canned Meats (tuna, chicken, corned beef, etc.)
• Pressed Garlic
• Pressed Ginger  

Condiments and Spices:

• Hot Sauce
• Mayonnaise
• Mustard
• Ketchup
• Parmesan Cheese
• Salad Dressing  
• Garlic Powder
• Italian Spice Mix
• Cinnamon
• Salt
• Pepper
• Seasoning Salt  

You can find more information and other ways to support vulnerable youth on our donations page.