Vancouver charity recovers stolen delivery bike, but not the 200 Thanksgiving meals for seniors on board
Published Saturday, October 10, 2020 4:09PM PDT Last Updated Saturday, October 10, 2020 7:09PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- A charity in Vancouver's West End is asking the public for help after its delivery bicycle was stolen Friday afternoon.
With the help of neighbourhood residents, the bike and trailer were recovered from the bottom of an embankment in Stanley Park within a few hours, but the 200 Thanksgiving meals bound for isolated seniors in the West End that were slated for delivery were ruined.
Staff at Gordon Neighbourhood House were able to put together about half of the missing meals, and they have reached out to local businesses and the public for help making up the rest.
“This was an awful thing to have happened,” said Gordon House executive director Siobhan Powlowski in a news release. “A lot of West End residents struggle to put food on the table and we hate to see wasted food right before Thanksgiving. But we’re grateful for our neighbors’ help locating the bike, and are hopeful that we’ll still be able to get meals out to all of our seniors in time for Thanksgiving dinner.”
The meals in question were a replacement for the neighbourhood house's usual, in-person Thanksgiving lunches, which were cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, Gordon House chef Amanda Bacaleinick packed hundreds of turkey dinners for delivery via the specialized bike.
According to Gordon House, the driver was on just their second delivery of the day when the bike was stolen off of a street in the West End.
The driver and neighbourhood house staff posted about the theft on West End social media groups, and within a few minutes received a tip that the vehicle had been spotted on the seawall in Stanley Park.
A little while later, West End resident Brian MacKenzie noticed something unusual at the bottom of an embankment near where he was walking in the park.
“I was walking along and I could see a light at the bottom of the bank,” said MacKenzie. “I thought, 'What the heck is that?' So I went closer to the bank, and sure enough there was a cart down there. I thought, 'What on earth is a cart doing down there?' So I yelled to see if anybody was there or hurt.”
With the help of two Vancouver park workers, MacKenzie determined that the bike had been abandoned.
Gordon House staff attempted to recover the bike, but ended up having to call a towing company for help retrieving it.
Since the pandemic began, Gordon House has prepared more than 3,300 meals for isolated seniors and families who are self-isolating because of the coronavirus. The organization's goal is to deliver 5,000 nutritious meals by the end of the year.
Anyone interested in helping replace the lost Thanksgiving meals can email firstname.lastname@example.org, while those interested in the meal delivery initiative more broadly can contact email@example.com.