By David F. Rooney
The cupboards are so bare at the Community Connections Food Bank that Patti Larson describes the situation as “the worst I’ve ever seen” — and she’s not trying to be melodramatic.
In fact, she fears only a no-holds-barred city-wide food drive like the one that gathered 9,000 pounds of food last year can reverse the situation.
“We’re hoping for 100 volunteers each night who will canvas the city for food,” she said in an interview. “We feed a lot of hungry people — including 50 or 60 kids and right now we’re barely getting by.”
Larson said this year’s Emergency Services Fight Back Against Hunger Food Drive, scheduled for September 19 and 20, could help turn that situation around if Revelstokians show their typical generosity.
She said volunteer Krista Carnegie is, as she did last year, will be organizing much of this event. Larson said she anticipates that police, firefighters, Parks Canada employees, Search and Rescue volunteers, ATV Club members and men and women from other groups will be involved in the effort to replenish the Food Bank’s barren shelves.
Food Drive volunteers will scour the city for food donations on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis. They’ll be seeking unexpired and unopened non-perishable foods and children’s snacks such as juice boxes, dried fruits, cookies, etc., as well as unused personal care and grooming products such as shampoo, soap, combs, brushes (for both hair and teeth), razor and, nail clippers.
The emphasis on unexpired and unopened products is very important. Last year, a significant proportion of the donated foods had to be thrown out because they were either past their best-by date or had been opened and partially consumed.
“I would really ask people to be thoughtful,” Larson said. “Health Canada regulations prevent us from distributing expired food products so we just have to throw them out. So please look at the expiry dates before you donate anything. And please… no open containers.”
Nor should anyone put out freshly picked foods from their garden or orchard. Those donations can be dropped off at the Food Bank, downstairs in the Legion Friday mornings 8:30 – 11 am. If you have questions please call Patti Larson at 250-837-2920 (ext. 28).
The drive is scheduled be held between 6 pm and 8 pm each night. Volunteers will go door-to-door canvassing for donations. If you’d like to support the food drive but know you won’t be home please leave your clearly marked bagged or boxed donation on your doorstep.
“People can also leave their offering for this food drive at Cooper’s, Southside or here at the Community Connections main office ( 314 Second Street East),” Larson said.
More information about this important event will be posted as it becomes available.