By Patti Larson, Revelstoke Community Connections Food Bank
Part of a series celebrating National Volunteer Week
Community Connections Food Bank feeds real people throughout the year: newborn babies, children, working parents, single moms and dads, seniors taken ill, and many who are on disability and unable to work. Thankfully, due to the support of our volunteers, the food bank is a source of hope for the many that use it. As one former volunteer explained:
“I am a client and volunteer of the food bank. I had to start using the food bank to make ends meet. I feel very welcome and feel really blessed to have the support of the food bank.” It takes 15 to 20 volunteers a total of 4,000 hours each year to sort and repackage food, prepare food hampers and assist with food distribution to make the food bank run efficiently. Some of the volunteers also provide transportation for people who do not have vehicles. Many of these volunteers have given freely of their time for more than 12 years and these volunteer experiences offer a unique team building experience and feeling of self-worth while giving a hand up to our low-income neighbours.
Another former volunteer, who has moved from Revelstoke and is now working full time, said the food bank provided a life-changing experience.
“I moved from a large city and had used up all of our funds with the move and was desperately out of groceries. It is not a pleasant situation to have to talk to someone and tell them your situation and why you are there. After accessing the food bank for a few months I started to volunteer as it was a way to meet people in the community and it was a way for me to give back. It was also a way to keep my sanity!”
Our volunteers are an essential part of our organization and we rely on their generous gifts of time. We have volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life. Many of the volunteers are currently accessing our services and some are past recipients of the food bank. Our volunteers also include business owners, office workers and friends and families of current volunteers. Our volunteers have a wonderful appreciation of how difficult it can be to stand in a long line-up waiting for food. They do their best to be approachable and friendly while not only remembering their names but also those who have special requests for food or kids snack items.
“I find it hard to properly explain how much Community Connections Food Bank has done for me,” said one individual. “The friendliness and helpfulness and kindness of Patti and the volunteers here is indescribable. The community would truly suffer without these people.”