A Better Life Foundation is a corporate-non-profit-community partnership created by Mark Brand in 2013. At the core, their focus is on charitable giving, where they work to provide hot meals and food security to those who need it the most in the DTES. Their primary mission is to feed, train, and support their at-risk and marginalized neighbours and to date, they have served over 3,001,886 meals in Vancouver. Careful thought is placed on every single part of the process–it is this mindfulness that highlights the measured intention A Better Life has with each aspect of its production chain: the meals are produced by a team of employees facing barriers, packaged in individual fully compostable packaging, and delivered by Shift Couriers across the city via zero emission electric tricycles. Nothing is done without consideration. Every attempt is made to create a sustainable initiative.
A Better Life currently serves over 1000 meals each day, 365 days out of the year, through their Daily Meal Program. The idea is simple: when people are fed warm, nutritious meals, they have the energy and the capacity to make different life choices. People are humanized and are met in a place of dignity. Food simply fortifies people; we often forget this, when we have ample availability of it, how much would change if we were denied access to it. In 2020 alone, A Better Life has served over 470,000 meals. Currently, they have formed a partnership with Save-On Meats, a DTES landmark, who has lent them their ample kitchen space in order to produce these meals for their neighbours.
How much change can we affect if we stepped outside the bounds of depending on federal funding and political policies to move communities forward? How far can a little bit of caring and a hot meal go? Turns out, a lot. For A Better Life, there is no ceiling to giving. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to make a difference in the lives of those in need, with kindness, respect, and acceptance.
Photography by: Human Biography