British Columbia·Our Vancouver

Vancouver area teens collect bread and baking for homeless

Kristen Anderson is the founder of Kitchen on a Mission clubs that have area teens collecting day old bread and other baked goods and take it to shelters

Since its early days, school club has grown to 5 schools and 100 students who collect goods for 10 shelters

Teens helping the homeless

7 years ago
Duration 7:32
The founder of the Kitchen on a Mission club explains what teens do for shelters

It's a school club that's all heart and hands. Grade 12 student Kristen Anderson founded "Kitchen on a Mission" in July of 2015.

"I tried at first to go down and hand out sandwiches but realized I couldn't afford to buy the bread every day for this, so I had to rethink my idea.

Anderson was then inspired by an article she read about New York teens collecting leftover restaurant food and feeding the homeless.

She wanted to help the poorest population here. She went asking for donations in her neighbourhood and the only establishment that said yes was the bakery.

Anderson and other volunteers from Winston Churchill Secondary set out collecting, not only bread, but Danishes and other baked goods and dropping them off at shelters under the umbrella of the Atira Women's Resource Society. 

She knocked on more bakery doors and soon enlisted Cobs, Piast Bakery and two locations of Terra Breads to give them their unsold baked goods for redistribution.

Since its early days, the club has grown to five schools and 100 students who collect goods for 10 different shelters.

Anderson says the group is now able to achieve its goal of having $200,000 worth of baked goods transferred a year. She says it helps the shelters to not have to purchase the bread out of their budget. 

The club members say their volunteer work is satisfying and eye opening. 

"I didn't realize what a community the Downtown Eastside was before going down there each day with my friends. They are such kindhearted people down there. They were giving me advice on my life, to stay in school and listen to my parents. I even had one man play guitar for me, which was really touching because I love to sing."

She's proud of her team and feels assured Kitchen on a Mission will continue even after she graduates and goes away to university. The teens will soon start picking up bread and baking from Price Mart locations.