Food Bank donations in cash and food down this year

By David F. Rooney

On the surface everything looks pretty good: Tom Jackson’s Singing for Supper concert brought in bags of cash and one big-hearted local resident single-handedly raised more than $4,000 by himself. But Patti Larson, outreach services manager and coordinator of the Community Connections Food Bank is deeply worried.

“Donations are down right across the board this year,” she said in an interview on Thursday. “Cash, food, gifts — everything is down. But the need just keeps increasing. So far, we’ve processed 175 applications for Christmas hampers and we expect more to come in.”

And the need for assistance in Revelstoke is growing.

“We’re seeing all kinds of people,” Larson said. “We had someone come in the other day. He had been laid off. His wife had been laid off. They’re professional people and they have to access the Food Bank. They’re in a really bad situation. It’s Christmas and their cupboard is bare.”

Applying for assistance from the Food Bank may seem somewhat humiliating but Larson and her volunteer staff try to make it as easy as possible for applicants. They do have to show ID, fill out a written application form and questionnaire that probes their sources of income, places of employment,  if any, and they are formally interviewed but as Larson notes “we don’t have the capacity to do any means testing.”

“We do what we can but we’re not the police,” she said. “There’s only so much we can do with our limited means. But we don’t just hand out food or let people come in and help themselves. They have to apply and we do check their claims but at the end of the day I have to use my best judgement.”

The Christmas Hamper Depot is open daily if you’d like to help out. or please call Patti Larson at 250-837-2920.