Be a friend of the Food Bank

Sometimes, I wonder if the Food Bank sees a surge in donations around Christmas because we feel a bit guilty about our over-consumption and are trying to beg a little indulgence of the Universe. Or maybe it is as simple as getting caught up in the spirit of giving. Either way, the fact is that contributions to the Food Bank drop dramatically as soon as Santa wings back to the North Pole, but demand remains steady.

The Pemberton Food Bank is one 87 food banks across the province feeding 70,000 people a month. It’s rare that invaluable services are this easy to support. Why not make it a monthly mission with your kids during the family grocery shop, to choose something non-perishable from the shelves to donate to the Food Bank box.

We checked in with Louise Stacey-Deegan, the manager of the Pemberton Food Bank, to find out why it’s worth keeping the Food Bank top of mind even as Christmas fades from our memories, and take the time to drop a few extra non-perishable items in the boxes at the grocery store, the library, or the Food Bank office, over the coming year.

How long have you been in Pemberton? What do you like about living here?

I’ve lived in Pemberton for 14 years. I like the small community feeling. Coming from a large city in England, it’s nice to know most faces in town.

Who runs the Pemberton Food Bank? 

The Pemberton Food Bank is a service run and funded by Sea to Sky Community Services. It is open every other Monday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm at 1366 Aster Street

You’ve been in your new location, in the former Sears outlet, at unit 6, 1366 Aster Street, for a little over a year now. How has that made a difference to the service you can provide?

We relocated as the numbers increased so much we needed space. Previously, as a volunteer-run service, the Food Bank was supporting 20-24 people a month on an emergency basis. This year, from August to November, we served 1900 people and it’s increasing as the colder months are rolling in.

Why do people need the Food Bank? What sort of circumstances can occur in someone’s life that might see them in need of basic assistance like this?

People use the Food Bank for several reasons – low income and unemployment is the largest. This area has a very high rental/property values, with low incomes. Sometimes two jobs do not always cover people’s bills.

Do you have a sense of the trends or economic need that is going on in Pemberton, because of your work? What are some of the challenges that you’d like council or businesses or decision makers to keep in mind?

We need to look at the other eight communities that surround Pemberton. Work, housing & transport are also an issue for them.

What do people receive when they get food bank support?  How does it work?

They receive non-perishable food, bread, eggs, fresh fruit/veggies & extras, if available. They just need ID, it’s as easy as that.

What kind of contributions do you rely on?

We always rely on donations of non-perishable items.

Why is the community garden and farmer contributions important? How important is good fresh food to people? How do you manage the loss of that through the winter?

Fresh food is very important in everyone’s diet, especially those on low incomes. Fresh is usually expensive, so it’s not purchased. We buy all our produce & non-perishable items from Pemberton Valley Supermarket. Without them, we would not be able to offer the food that we do to so many people.

If people are thinking about helping out or making a contribution, what are the best ways they can contribute?

To contribute you can drop of items at our Office, Monday – Friday, 11.30am-4pm.

Finally, if there is one thing you could say to Pemberton’s new Council, what would it be?

Don’t forget those in need! They don’t always ask for help.

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