Powell River General Hospital now offers food truck service for its staff, patients and visitors.
Hospital director Mélie De Champlain said she has been in her role with Vancouver Coastal Health for two years and during that time has been working to find a solution to the lack of food services for the hospital outside of meals prepared for the patients. She said she was looking for a solution for staff, for visitors who are waiting for people in the operating room or emergency, and others needing food and drink while at the hospital.
“You couldn’t even get a good cup of coffee in the hospital,” said De Champlain. “This is not okay. Everyone needs to be able to grab a coffee or not have to leave the hospital to get some food.
“We’ve looked at many solutions, such as trying to see if we could renovate the cafeteria downstairs; not the one that we are doing the distribution for the patients. We were looking at renovating that part of the hospital but the problem is we’ve never been able to have a food vendor that could operate.”
De Champlain said the hospital was trying with different organizations and people to get food service but things kept falling though. She said there were good suggestions that came from the public that the hospital should look at bringing a food truck onto the premises.
“I honestly thought it was a good idea,” said De Champlain. “We put a call out for whoever would be interested to come and we have our taco truck here now.”
Taco the Town Zunga Food Truck is now operating at the hospital from Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. The truck is parked outside of the hospital cafeteria on the ground floor.
“It’s not just for patients, our staff, visitors and family, but it’s also for anyone from the public who want to grab some food,” said De Champlain. “They are welcome to call in and leave with their order, or if they want to sit in the hospital cafeteria, they are more than welcome.
“I am thrilled because it was just not okay where we were before. We needed to find a good solution with something that would be good quality. Honestly, to have a local food vendor, it’s a great partnership. That was a piece of our client services that was missing.”
De Champlain said it was not a complicated solution; the hospital just had to find the food truck.
The hospital has done a lot of publicity internally to highlight the new service and feedback has been positive.
“People are just happy to come down and grab a coffee,” said De Champlain. “There have been days where I have missed bringing my lunch, and to have this option where I can run downstairs and grab something is great.
“We have corporate visitors coming from Vancouver to work with us, we have visiting physicians, people who are coming for training and it’s been a matter of logistics in the past to make sure we get them some lunch or some food.”
De Champlain said the taco truck makes good food and coffee and that’s what the hospital was seeking.
“It’s good news,” she said.
Tiffany Hill, owner of the taco truck, said it has been really exciting to set up daily at the hospital.
“I think we have lots of very happy people to have some options,” she said.
Hill said the response from people coming to the food truck has been fantastic. Anything on the menu can be provided and the truck offers gluten-free, vegan options and dairy-free options.
For people seeking meals, they can of course order tacos, plus items such as donairs. Soups are available and more will be added to the menu.
“We are trying to accommodate the needs of everyone,” said Hill.
She said she is having signage done so people who are not at the hospital but wanting to avail themselves of the food truck can find the location.