Donations have helped feed 210 families during the first eight days of December, but the month looms long and large still to volunteer staff at the Powell River Food Bank.
“We are happy to take anything that people can bring in,” said Food Bank manager and volunteer Gina McKendrick. “This is the worst time of year for those in need and Christmas is just around the corner.”
Generous help from all the major food stores in Powell River have helped keep the Food Bank stocked this past year. “Quality Foods collects free points from customers and this year they donated eleven and a half million points to the food bank,” Gina said. “This means we have been able to purchase 50 free tickets for turkeys for clients; the first time we’ve been able to do this,” she said. “Lots of people will be getting turkeys this year for Christmas, and this has never happened before.”
Throughout the year Safeway collects $5 bags of groceries in their store which means everyone who comes through our doors gets this extra bag of food. “It’s a real bonus,” Gina said. “Save-On also donates generously, without their help our shelves wouldn’t be as well stocked.”
This time of year is especially difficult for Food Bank clients as they have higher heating bills and extra expenses. “$610 a month doesn’t go very far, especially when you take rent off the top,” Gina said. “Many of our clients rely on the Food Bank because there simply isn’t enough money left over after paying basic shelter costs to cover even a modest food bill.”
As well as food items, Gina encourages helpful residents to consider donating toiletries for both men and women. “Shaving supplies, soap, shampoos, sanitary supplies, deodorants, toothpaste and toothbrushes, these are all in great demand and we don’t often receive them,” she said.
While Gina was busy singing the praises of all those who give generously to the Powell River Food Bank, her staff of volunteers were equally vocal about what Gina means to the Food Bank and this town.
“Gina is the Food Bank,” one volunteer, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “You should mention how she gives of herself daily, above and beyond what you could even imagine. There would be a lot less happening at the Food Bank if it wasn’t for Gina, she just never stops. Her generosity and caring for the town’s residents knows no limits.”
The Powell River Food Bank is located at 6812D Alberni Street and they are open Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. For more information, call Gina at 604-485-9166.