‘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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From left to right. Jeremy, Ryan and Mitch Hunter are all third generation owners of Excel Tire, which will soon to become Trail Tire. (File)
3 generations later: Iconic Revelstoke tire business to be retread with new name

Excel Tire soon to become Trail Tire, but is still owned by the Hunter family

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Downtown Revelstoke on March 4, 2021. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
48 COVID-19 cases in February for Revelstoke

Since the start of the pandemic roughly one out of 30 local residents have contracted the virus

Mussel inspection sit set up at B.C.-Alberta border. (Contributed)
Okanagan Basin Water Board calls for stronger invasive mussel protection

Letter sets out six recommendations for environment minister George Heyman to consider

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely,

Premier John Horgan looks on during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Premier touches on protest, housing controversy in Penticton

Protesters have said they plan to go on despite police warning

Googlemaps photo
WorkBC's Find Your Fit tour will be at Len Wood Middle school Tuesday.
LOCKDOWN: Armstrong student allegedly threatens staff with weapon

RCMP called, no students were at risk, according to school

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

President of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) Teri Mooring is calling for teachers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Why it’s ‘urgent’ B.C. teachers get vaccinated from COVID-19 before summer

President Teri Mooring says not enough is being done to prevent virus transmission in schools

Most Read