‘She is going to be missed’: Revelstoke’s food bank creator retires

Patti Larson (right) outside the Community Connections Food Bank. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)Patti Larson (right) outside the Community Connections Food Bank. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke RCMP Sgt. Chris Dodds delivering donations to Patti Larson, program director for Community Connections Food Bank. (Submitted)Revelstoke RCMP Sgt. Chris Dodds delivering donations to Patti Larson, program director for Community Connections Food Bank. (Submitted)
Ainsley Renyard hands a cheque to Patti Larson, director of Community Connections food bank. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)Ainsley Renyard hands a cheque to Patti Larson, director of Community Connections food bank. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Manager Brian Clark (left) and assistant manager Dylan Meikle (right) hands Community Connections director Patti Larson (middle) a cheque for the local food bank. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)Manager Brian Clark (left) and assistant manager Dylan Meikle (right) hands Community Connections director Patti Larson (middle) a cheque for the local food bank. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Brady Beruschi, owner of Cheers Liquor store, presented a $2,000 cheque for the Community Connections Foodbank to Patti Larson, food bank coordinator. (Submitted)Brady Beruschi, owner of Cheers Liquor store, presented a $2,000 cheque for the Community Connections Foodbank to Patti Larson, food bank coordinator. (Submitted)
Patti Larson has been running Community Connection’s Food Bank for the last 20 years. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)Patti Larson has been running Community Connection’s Food Bank for the last 20 years. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
A small fraction of the people behind the Christmas Hamper Program. From left to right: Larry Olsson, Patti Larson, Kathleen Hammond and Gladys Dyer (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)A small fraction of the people behind the Christmas Hamper Program. From left to right: Larry Olsson, Patti Larson, Kathleen Hammond and Gladys Dyer (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Patti Larson from Community Connections address the crowd. (Photo by Noeline Mostert)Patti Larson from Community Connections address the crowd. (Photo by Noeline Mostert)
Giving back Brian Clarke, store manager at Save-On-Foods, presented Patti Larson, of Community Connections, with $2,150 for the food bank. Save-On-Foods collected the money during their second annual Share it Forward event which saw the store donate 50 per cent of net proceeds of Western Family products purchased between June 13 and 19 to the food bank. (Revelstoke Review)Giving back Brian Clarke, store manager at Save-On-Foods, presented Patti Larson, of Community Connections, with $2,150 for the food bank. Save-On-Foods collected the money during their second annual Share it Forward event which saw the store donate 50 per cent of net proceeds of Western Family products purchased between June 13 and 19 to the food bank. (Revelstoke Review)
Patrick McMechan, right, presents Patti Larson, of the Community Connections Food Bank, with a cheque for $1,850 on behalf of Stella-Jones. The Revelstoke Women’s Shelter also received $1,850. The money comes from Stella-Jones’ firewood sales. (Submitted)Patrick McMechan, right, presents Patti Larson, of the Community Connections Food Bank, with a cheque for $1,850 on behalf of Stella-Jones. The Revelstoke Women’s Shelter also received $1,850. The money comes from Stella-Jones’ firewood sales. (Submitted)
Community Connections’ Patti Larson is presented with a cheque. The CP Holiday Train stopped in Revelstoke on Dec. 14, 2017. Alan Doyle and The Beautiful band performed and Community Connections Food Bank received $10K. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)Community Connections’ Patti Larson is presented with a cheque. The CP Holiday Train stopped in Revelstoke on Dec. 14, 2017. Alan Doyle and The Beautiful band performed and Community Connections Food Bank received $10K. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)
Patti Larson is flanked y Cst. Gary McLaughlin and Jenna Fraser at the start of the Emergency Services Food Drive.Patti Larson is flanked y Cst. Gary McLaughlin and Jenna Fraser at the start of the Emergency Services Food Drive.
Patti Larson’s last day at the Community Connection Food Bank was Jan. 29. (Community Connections photo)Patti Larson’s last day at the Community Connection Food Bank was Jan. 29. (Community Connections photo)
Prior to working at the food bank, Patti Larson worked at TD Bank and volunteered at the temporary food bank for mill workers that was set up for three years in the late 80s. She was recognized for that volunteer work by her employer at the time.Prior to working at the food bank, Patti Larson worked at TD Bank and volunteered at the temporary food bank for mill workers that was set up for three years in the late 80s. She was recognized for that volunteer work by her employer at the time.
On Jan. 28, people were encouraged to drive by Community Connections and honk to say thank you to Patti Larson. The RCMP participated in the Patti parade. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)On Jan. 28, people were encouraged to drive by Community Connections and honk to say thank you to Patti Larson. The RCMP participated in the Patti parade. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

The first time Patti Larson was to step onto the stage at the Holiday Train food bank fundraiser, she was pushed.

Her boss Jane McNab knew she was nervous and gave her that extra encouragement.

“Jane believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” Larson said.

In her resume, Larson submitted to become the food bank coordinator 20 years ago, she said her goal was to work in an organized, efficient manner and provide quality service to all clients.

Since then, Larson said she accomplished that, and so much more.

Sheena Bell, current executive director for Community Connections, said she has never heard Larson complain about work.

Larson is a blend of steady, modest, professional and available, Bell said.

“What you see is what you get. She puts people first.”

Larson’s application all those years ago was accepted by NcNab and together they launched the Community Connection’s Food Bank.

Prior to that there had been no permanent food bank in Revelstoke. Larson had volunteered at a temporary facility from 1986 to 1988 that served families who had been impacted by mill layoffs.

Larson was in her 40s when she applied for the food bank job, after working for decades at TD Bank.

Last year, in the Review’s feature story for the Women of Inspiration special section, Larson said it was difficult changing careers at that age, but banking was no longer a good fit.

READ MORE: Revelstoke’s Patti Larson: From banking to food banking

At first, her new job was only 20 hours a week, with food distribution once a month. Now the community outreach team is up to nine people and food pick up is twice a week.

Since the start of the pandemic, demand at the food bank has tripled.

But Larson wasn’t just expanding the food bank while at Community Connections.

“The side of her desk is the biggest part,” Bell said.

Larson established the health and safety committee, helped write policies and was a big part of the organizational culture, Bell said.

She was a part of the executive leadership team that the society appointed in 2015, rather than having a single executive director.

Along with the food bank, she launched the Christmas Hamper program, which has been going for 20 years.

Bell said that Larson knows and supports every program at Community Connections.

Larson also had the largest group of volunteers. Bell said it’s because Larson treated everyone like they belonged and had something to offer.

Brenda Butcher, a long-time volunteer at the food bank, said Larson is a beautiful lady. Butcher hasn’t been back to volunteer since the start of COVID but said she misses seeing people and laughing.

“She is going to be missed,” Butcher said of Larson’s retirement.

Though the food bank was Larson’s passion project for years, she is happy to pass on the reins and confident those who are taking over will do a good job.

Larson said she will miss the people but not the middle-of-the-night fire alarm calls.

And, as a volunteer, she will return.


 

@RevelstokeRevue
editor@revelstoketimesreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Food Bank