Quest Outreach Society exists to disrupt the cycle of poverty through access to healthy and affordable food that is sourced sustainably.
By bridging the gap between food banks and traditional grocery stores, Quest provides a grocery experience based on principles of dignity, access, and sustainability.
The Quest Grocery Model
Quest believes in a grocery model that simultaneously supports community while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
A leader in redistribution, we work to actively redirect healthy, good food that would otherwise end up in the landfill and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Almost all of Quest’s food is donated by local food partners from across British Columbia and delivered across our five Lower Mainland markets at reduced cost to our client communities.
Quest’s five grocery markets are located in Burnaby, Surrey, North Vancouver, East Vancouver, and the Downtown Eastside. For more information visit Questoutreach.org.
Two key components make up the Quest grocery model: redistribution and intentional sourcing. By partnering with local food producers, growers, farmers, and distributors in order to identify what can be redirected as well as products intentionally grown and produced for Quest, we’re able to provide healthy and affordable groceries to our members across the Lower Mainland.
Redistribution: Quest was the first non-profit organization in British Columbia to pioneer such a unique food redistribution model. By redirecting good food that would otherwise go to waste, Quest helps reduce the amount of food left to decompose in the landfill as well as the amount of methane and greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere.
Intentional Sourcing: Quest also actively engages with food producers who grow or distribute food specifically for communities and individuals facing economic barriers. Our partners believe that every British Columbian should have access to the freshest and most healthy food available, regardless of their economic circumstances.
Quest has been operating since 1990, originally functioning as a soup kitchen to feed food-insecure individuals in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. In 1992, the program known as “The Quest” became incorporated as “Quest Outreach Society”. In 1995, Quest was serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to its clients six days a week, as well as operating children’s programs at six Vancouver Neighbourhood Houses, facilitating a daily outreach to street youth, running food drives, operating six other food depots in the Vancouver area, and providing deliveries of bulk food to 17 Lower Mainland Social Service Agencies. By 2004, thousands of people every month were being aided by Quest.
In 2006, the organization rebranded to “Quest Food Exchange”, adjusting its focus to not-for-profit store-front grocery markets. In the same year, the first Quest market was opened adjacent the organization’s distribution centre on Georgia Street. 2008 brought the opening of our Surrey market, and shortly after, a third market was opened in the Downtown East Side.
In 2009, a $1 million grant from VanCity, allowed Quest to close its Georgia Street location and purchase a building at 2020 Dundas Street, which today houses the main distribution centre, flagship not-for-profit grocery market, and administrative offices. 2013 marked the opening of our fourth grocery market, which serves Burnaby and New Westminster and in 2016, the fifth Quest market was opened in the Lonsdale area of North Vancouver.