The JFSA Basic Resource Department provides support, advocacy and resources enabling diverse members of the Jewish community to live with dignity and respect.  Our professionals assist clients to navigate government systems and to build a network of support.  Basic resources provides the following services; information and referral, case management, housing advocacy, food sustenance and other poverty relief.

Below is information about our major Basic Resources programs.

Jewish Food Bank

Serving over 400 individuals and families in our community, the Jewish Food Bank is held every two weeks at the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture, 6184 Ash Street, from 10am – 11am on alternate Thursday mornings.

Unlike general food banks, the JFSA does not have a “walk in” model. Clients must be assessed and placed on the food bank by a JFSA case manager or counsellor. To maintain the privacy of clients, volunteers do not know clients’ names, and use numbered cards, colour coded according to the number of people in the household.

Staffed and operated by volunteers, the Food Bank uses a shop model with clients collecting their own goods according to the size of the household and their needs. Canned, dried foods, fresh eggs, bread and as much fresh produce as the budget and site permit are offered. In the summer the Jewish Food Bank receives organic fresh garden products from an anonymous donor.

While we are not a kosher food bank, the Jewish Food Bank does not offer any meats, poultry or their by-products kosher or not — or anything marine that does not have fins or scales, or their by-products. In addition, for those clients who do keep kosher, we ensure that kosher items are available to them. We try as best we can to accommodate other dietary needs of our clients such as low-sodium items, gluten free items and the like.

The majority of supplies are bought, and we rely heavily on donations in kind for non-basic goods such as: prunes, honey, healthy lunch-box items for children. Donations of food and toiletries such as soap, shampoo, toilet paper and diapers are greatly appreciated and needed.

The Jewish Food Bank is co-funded by Jewish Women’s International-BC, JFSA and many generous donors from the community.


For more information about the Jewish Food Bank, please contact:

Marnie Greenwald
Food Bank Coordinator & Community Development



If you are paying more than 30% of your monthly income on rent and your household income is below $35,000, you should make an appointment to see JFSA’s Housing Coordinator.

Some of the things the Housing Coordinator can do:

  • Advise you on the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords
  • Explain the different types of housing available in Vancouver
  • Steer you through the labyrinth of applying for social housing
  • Advocate for your tenant rights and housing suitability
  • Ensure you are applying for programs you are eligible for
  • Provide application forms for the BC Housing Registry and non-profit housing organizations
  • Provide a letter of support for you to submit to a non-profit housing provider
  • Give you applications and information on rent subsidy programs like Rental Assistance Program (RAP) and Shelter Assistance For Elderly Renters (SAFER)
  • Help you complete applications
  • Assist you through the dispute resolution process at the Residential Tenancy Branch
  • Provide a list of short-term market accommodation
  • Provide information and access to the emergency shelter program

The Housing Coordinator cannot:

  • Find you market housing
  • Find housing for people before they arrive in Vancouver

For more information about housing please contact:

Sara Ann Chisholm
Housing Coordinator

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to pay for these services?

No, it’s free! Come see us!

Where do your funds come from?

Most of our funding comes from The Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, and the rest is made up of individual donations, other private foundations and monies from the provincial government.

Why do I need to provide proof of income?

As a non-profit organization with charitable tax status we are bound by the rules of the Canada Revenue Agency and as such need clear documentation of any monies we give out. As well, basic resources provides aid to those most in need with limited or fixed incomes or in dire financial straits, as such we need to assess income level.

Why do you only give out gift cards to Safeway or Superstore?

One main reason is that there are multiple locations of these stores across the Lower Mainland and outlying areas. In addition, these stores provide JFSA with a discount on bulk ordering allowing us to order more for less. Did you also know that Superstore cards can also be used at Extra Foods, Supervalu or No Frills stores?

Why can’t I get permanent financial help?

We want to meet with you regularly to help you move forward with your goals and be sure and offer whatever resources we can as your situation changes. We also have to balance out all the requests for help we receive and make sure our funds go as far as possible.

Why don’t you give loans?

There is another community organization called Hebrew Free Loan Association and they offer this service.