The Community Connections Revelstoke Food Bank cupboards are essentially bare. Stocks are so depleted, the organization has now resorted to purchasing much of its food.
To make matters worse, the number of those relying on the food bank to get by is increasing.
In July, the food bank had 622 people visits. On their monthly hamper day in August, they distributed 196 hampers, up from 160 in August 2011.
A hunger count earlier this year showed 68 per cent of those accessing the food bank were single individuals, often living in rented accommodation.
Last Friday, about a dozen people lined up for weekly opening of the food bank, and a steady stream came through during the morning rush.
They picked up staples like milk, basic vegetables, bread, rice and packaged foods.
Inside, about 10 volunteers help the clients, stocking shelves, handing out food and with other chores. At the “extras” table, volunteers Randy Gribble, Gladys Dyer, Ben Blair and Brendan Ward help clients choose some additional items to take home. However, the supply was very thin — clients were restricted to two items each of things like noodle soup and canned meats.
“We’ve had to cut back,” said food bank program manager Patti Larson. She explained the food bank has been using limited cash resources to buy food. “It impacts the quantity of food that we can provide to people. We like to give people a choice every Friday.”
In order to turn the situation around, the food bank is partnering with several community groups for their second annual Emergency Services Fight Back Against Hunger food drive this Sept 19 & 20.
Voluteers will go door-to-door from 6–8 p.m. those evenings to collect food or cash donations.
Volunteer groups include the Revelstoke RCMP, highway rescue, the fire department, emergency social services, CP Rail police and more. They’ll be joined by other community groups, including the Revelstoke Grizzlies, girl guides, the Derailers roller derby club, church groups and more.
All together, about more than 100 volunteers will try to reach every home in Revelstoke to collect donations for the food bank.
They’re looking for your donations and involvement in the drive, Larson said. “It takes a community to make a community food drive successful. We’re looking for volunteers, we’re looking for donations.”
What kind of non-perishable food are they looking for? Canned meats, peanut butter, pasta, sauces, canned vegetables, healthy juice, granola bars and fruit cups. Don’t donate old or expired food as the Food Bank can’t pass it along. “Food that you would eat,” Larson said.
What about cash or monetary donations? Yes. Give it to the trusted volunteers coming door-to-door. Include your name and basic information in the envelope and Community Connections will get you a receipt for tax purposes.
Don’t have anything to donate? The food bank is looking for volunteers to go door-to-door or help sort donation.
Not going to be home? Leave your marked donation out front of your home.
What about fruits and vegetables from my garden? Yes. Contact Patti Larson directly or drop it off downstairs at the Legion on Fridays at or after 8 a.m., the earlier the better.
“Let’s try to meet or beat our goal from last year,” Larson said. “All the emergency groups together.”
Last year they gathered nearly 9,000 pounds of food, and about $1,000 in donations, an amount that lasted them through March.
Contact the Patti Larson at 250-837-2920, extension 28 to donate, volunteer or with any enquiries.
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