BY DUCK PATERSON
In a time of rising food costs, visits to Ladysmith’s food bank have “increased immensely.”
Eliina Alle, coordinator of the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association’s food bank, stopped by Pharmasave recently to accept a donation, and spoke about the need in the community.
She said over the past year, “the numbers of folks we have fed has increased immensely,” with an average of 740 people fed each month so far in 2023.
“These are not the number of folks who have come through the door, but it’s actual people, mouths, that we have fed,” Alle said.
The food bank is open Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. A core of more than 25 people volunteer there. Community members in need of food just need to show up; they are not required to register.
“People need to feel comfortable being here, there is already stigma attached, so we don’t want to create any more,” Alle said. “Some folks come with ID and that’s fine but we don’t really need it.”
The local food bank is an affiliate of the B.C. Food Banks Association and follow that body’s rules which means locally they cannot accept any opened packages or homemade food items. The food bank receives some funding from B.C. Food Banks but the bulk of the money to keep going comes from the local community.
Pharmasave store management and staff presented the food bank with a cheque for $2,500 on May 11. Owner and general manager Steve Wilkinson said for he and partners Yag Trivedi and Sneh Parikh, the food bank is a cause they “really believe in.” Staff members participate in ‘jeans club’ casual Fridays and raise money themselves to pass along to the food bank, and also support the food bank’s Christmas hamper program.
Alle said the financial donations are great because local grocers provide “amazing deals” that enable the food bank to get two or three times the dollar value.
“That makes the dollars go a long way, but unfortunately, in today’s times, we still need more,” she said.
Anyone wishing to donate money to the food bank can drop off donations at the Ladysmith Resources Centre, 630 Second Ave., clearly indicating that the money is for the food bank.
For more information or to volunteer, e-mail email@example.com or call the food bank at 250-714-6791 or the resources centre at 250-245-3079.Follow @nanaimobulletin