By David F. Rooney
Cash donations to the Community Connections Food Bank are down 42% from last year at this time, says the agency’s coordinator, Patti Larson.
“We’re down about $9,500 from last year at this same time,” she said Wednesday.
At this same time last year the Food Bank had received about $23,000 in donations.
Larson said the Food Bank has an annual budget of about $100,000 none of which come from any level of government. Revelstoke’s Community Connections Food Bank is entirely supported by donations from individuals and businesses within the community, so when cash donations drop there is no way for the agency to recoup those losses.
Larson is at a loss when it comes to ascribing a reason for the decline in donations but notes that it costs about $8,000 a month to purchase the bread, milk, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables that it distributes each week.
Some people may imagine that the province or the federal government subsidizes the agency but that is simply not true. Nor is it true that the Food Bank feeds hungry ski bums.
In fact, the Food Bank’s resources go to feeding hungry local families, including children. About104 households or 714 people, including 188 kids, rely on the Food Bank.
One good thing about this season is that contributions of new, unused toys and other items, other than cash, destined for the seasonal Christmas Hamper Program have not decreased, but the cash donations are definitely down.
In a normal year, the Food Bank received about $30,000 total over the holiday period. That’s just under 30% of its annual requirement. Will people, businesses and organizations step up to the plate and make up the shortfall?
“My big concern is that we really have to ramp up public awareness of the critical nature of the campaign at this time of year,” she said. “We know things are difficult right now and people are choosing — as they should — where and how to donate their money.”
Larson hopes more money will be forthcoming but has no way of predicting the future.
If you’d like to donate money to the Food Bank you should contact Patti Larson at Community Connections, at 250-837-2920.