There may have been a silver lining to the fact that the Lakes District Food Bank was broken into and vandalized on Nov. 13, 2016.
Food bank coordinator Candice Little said the outrage felt by the community made more people want to contribute to this year’s holiday spirit funding drive.
“People were beside themselves that people would have the nerve to break into a food bank, and that really raised everybody’s awareness about us,” she said. “People now are saying, ‘What can we do all year round?’”
The food bank reached their goal of raising $18,000 in less than three weeks. The funding drive started on Dec. 1, 2016, and by Dec. 20, the food bank had already raised $18,300.
The amount raised only includes cash donations. The food bank also received about 2000 pounds of non-perishable food items. One thousand pounds of these items were collected by members of the Lakes District Secondary School Rotary Interact Club, who recently went door to door in Burns Lake collecting the items.
“We knew that people would come through, and they did,” said Little. “In this community, when people say they need your help, people listen; I’m just so grateful for that.”
The Lakes District Food Bank needs over $100,000 to operate each year – approximately $75,000 from government grants and $32,000 from community donations.
On each distribution day, the food bank gives out 95 to 110 boxes. Considering that the majority of these boxes are used by entire families, the food bank estimates they feed approximately 350 people in the community on each distribution day.
Little stressed that anyone can be in a situation where they need the food bank, and that sometimes it’s only temporary.
“Sometimes they are going through a rough spot, and they need the food bank for a few months just to get through until they get their next job,” said Little.
Many users, when they find themselves in a better financial situation, tend to give back to the food bank.
“Some people find themselves needing the food bank for a short time and others need the food bank on an ongoing basis,” explained Little. “Either way, recipients find ways of giving back either in their time or donating food or money when things settle down for them personally.”
Little said many of the users are people who are currently working but have to support a large family on minimum wage and struggle to make ends meet.
The Real Canadian Wholesale Club has recently started donating meet to the food bank, allowing them to open almost every week in December, as opposed to opening bi-monthly for their distribution day.
Little said the goal for 2017 is to have a distribution day every week.
To make a tax-deductible donation or volunteer your time, contact Candice Little at 250-251-1466.