Community members step up to support Revelstoke food bank, while food insecurity is at all time high
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Community Connections Revelstoke is trying to raise $150,000 this December, which is double the goal of year’s past. After a donation of $23,000 on Tuesday from local contractors, the total was at $108,000.
This is at a time when food insecurity in Revelstoke, and across Canada, is at an all time high. That’s along with the cost of living. More people than ever are using the food bank in Revelstoke, and more people with full time work need to use the food bank to make ends meet.
“Sometimes it’s necessary for them to come every single week because they are working full time and it’s still not cutting it to feed their family or themselves or to make rent,” said Hannah Whitney, the Community Food & Outreach Coordinator at Community Connections.
Traditionally, people on fixed income or subsidized housing made up the bulk of food bank clients.
Now, Whitney says it “seems like everybody is using the food bank.”
“And by I mean that there’s no set mold for the kind of person who might be experiencing food insecurity more than other people at the moment,” she said.
Add to that, the rising cost of food makes it harder for the food bank to serve the increased need. Whitney says it seems like she gets an email every other week from a supplier, saying their prices are going up.
In addition, grants that used to be available are drying up. Whitney says raising $150,000 is “a lofty goal,” but she says it’s one they have to meet.
Many community organizations and individuals are stepping up to donate. But Whitney says when people are giving money, they say they can’t give as much as they normally would because they too are being pinched by the high cost of living.
Whitney says it’s intimidating to come to the food bank for the first time.
“It takes a lot to get to that door,” she said
Sometimes she and her coworkers know of people who should be using the food bank, but aren’t because of the barriers of shame. When people come for the first time, they are registered and are told the rules–when they can pick up food, and how much. If people don’t have identification or don’t want to give information, they will still be able to use the food bank. The information Community Connections gathers about its clients is so they have data on who is using their services.
“No decision we make at the food bank as a team is ever flippantly made,” she said.
Community Connections wants its program to be as barrier free as possible. The food bank is run on the assumption that everyone is an expert in their own finances.
“It’s very easy just to make a judgment or a comment [about people who use the food bank],” Whitney said. “It’s a lot harder to hold space for things that people might not consider.”
There are many ways to donate to the food bank at this time. Including by going to see Wonka on Thursday at the Roxy Theatre. The cost of entrance is a cash or non-perishable food donation to the food bank. Cheers is raising money, as are CIBC and the Revelstoke Credit Union. People can also stop in to the Community Connections main office to make a direct donation there.
In the picture: Shelley and David Evans, owners of Mackenzie Village, and Rick Kermack with Canyon Electric represent some local contractors who donated $23,000 to Sheena Wells, the executive director of Community Connections, to support the food bank. This donation brought the total up to $108,000. Photo by Meagan Deuling.