Organization honoured at Quest Partner Appreciation Event

Camille Jensen

A large-scale commercial kitchen donated by posAbilities is helping Vancouver nonprofit Quest Food Exchange fulfil its vision to educate people around the benefits of healthy shopping and cooking techniques. 

For their contributions to the new community kitchen, posAbilities was recognized at Quest’s partner appreciation event Nov. 20.

PosAbilities president Celso A. A. Boscariol

PosAbilities president Celso A. A. Boscariol spoke at the recognition dinner, sharing how the story of how the community living service provider was able to deepen its partnership with Quest.  As it happens, posAbilities had invested in a community kitchen for its east Vancouver location several years ago.

But the kitchen wasn’t as fully integrated into the community as posAbilities had hoped. So when posAbilities’ east Vancouver space needed to move to another location, it decided to explore how the kitchen could foster greater community and reciprocal relationships with a partner organization.

When looking for a prospective partner to approach, posAbilities discovered Quest was in the process of fundraising, looking for about $100,000, to install a commercial kitchen. They had already raised about one third of what was needed, and posAbilities’ kitchen could fill the gap.

Ceslo credits posAbilities program director Gord Tulloch for connecting with Quest to offer donating the kitchen, and exploring new partnership opportunities.

Ceslo adds the donation is significant because posAbilities, like many social service providers, is often not seen as contributor to communities, nor are the people it supports. The partnership will begin to break down those stereotypes, he says.

“There are so many ways that we can, do and must contribute to our communities in order to support people with living a full life as citizens,” Ceslo told the more than 80 people attending the gala, including British Columbia Minister of Social Development Moira Stilwell and Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer.

“Through our partnership with Quest, we are enhancing people’s quality of life and fostering opportunities for connection and contribution.”

The partnership is already generating positive outcomes for both organizations. People supported by posAbilities are volunteer working at Quest’s community food stores.  Often, the coupons they earn from their work are donated back to community programs like children’s meals for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Quest held its partner appreciation event Nov. 20.

PosAbilities members are also taking part in Quest’s training opportunities, where they learn how to shop for and prepare healthy meals alongside their neighbours.

Finally, posAbilities is encouraging its members to shop at the valuable community service, which allows them to meet new people, while expanding their food options and budgets.

“Our partnership with Quest is rich and multifaceted. We look forward to discovering what more we can do together,” says Ceslo, adding he’s heard rumours about baking cookies for the homeless this holiday season.

Quest Food Exchange partners with local food wholesalers, restaurants, airlines, freight lines, supermarkets and farmers, who donate food that would otherwise go to waste. Quest then reuses the food, distributing it to social service agencies as well as selling the food in its low-cost markets.

A woman who use the markets attended the appreciation event, sharing how the grocery stores combine dignity with buying food, reducing the stigma of people having to rely on food banks and other assistance.

Quest’s latest project is turning leftover food into meals in its new community training kitchen. Quest Food Exchange President Peter Brasso expressed his gratitude to partners who made the kitchen possible.

“It is because of these strong community partnerships that we are able to continue to grow and expand our services; we are only as good as the sum of our parts,” says Peter.

More than 10 posAbilities staff members attended the gala appreciation event, including posAbilities property manager Nancy Green.

Nancy, who originally helped pick out the kitchen for posAbilities, says Quest’s new community training kitchen is open and accessible, and will serve as a good education and connection point for posAbilities members.

“It’s great to see everyone come together to feed people in a better, healthier way,” says Nancy.

To learn more about Quest Food Exchange, click here.

Feel free to comment on this story below, or e-mail camille(at)