When I first volunteered at a food bank in the early 90s, I thought I was making a short term commitment - six to twelve months, at the outset, and then the economic problem would correct itself and we could go back to raising money for the disadvantaged of Africa, Central America and other nations less wealthy than Canada. Every one of us who was volunteering at the food bank felt the same way. How wrong we were. Not only are food banks still with us thirty years later, but they have become an essential part of our social network. My six month stint lasted more than ten years.
I would much prefer that everyone in Canada could go to the supermarket to buy all the food they need for their families but unfortunately this is not possible, increasingly not at this moment in time. Food banks struggle to keep up with demand in normal times and with the COVID crisis, they have been overwhelmed. So many people have lost their incomes and been forced to turn to the food bank for help.
As I shared last week, no-one ever wants to go to the food bank. I have known families who refused to go and had to be persuaded by our volunteers to register and accept the food they needed. Please don’t imagine for one moment that the crowds of people increasing the demand on our food banks are enjoying the experience.
In addition to the increased demand for food, food banks are suffering from a decline in the number of volunteers available. Many food bank volunteers are in the older age group and are not comfortable exposing themselves to the COVID risk. This is a problem for sorting food and assembling the boxes to be distributed and for collecting food donations from supermarkets and other food sources.
So, if you are in the lucky position of being spoiled for choice as to what you will have for dinner tonight, why not go to the Sea to Sky Community Services website and discover how to make a donation to food banks throughout the Regional District. The need is great and someone will be really grateful for your assistance.
Chair, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District