QC food bank needs cash

Feed the People program shuts down for month of May

QC food bank needs cash

An island food bank has cut off services to its regular clients this month, but is hopeful its fundraising efforts will allow services to resume for the month of may.

The Feed the People food bank is an independent program run out of the Islands Wellness society building in Queen Charlotte. The society offers space and some administrative service as an in-kind donation, while almost half of the operating costs are covered by Gwaii Trust grants. Bonnie Olson, the victim services and outreach coordinator for the Islands Wellness Society serves as one of the volunteer directors for the food bank. She says a temporary, unexpected leave of the program’s regular administrator left the food bank unprepared to balance the delicate finances of the program.

“We’ve just gotten to a situation where we’ve used up any extra money we would have had in the fund,” Olson says. We didn’t know how drastic it was until it was drastic. Normally I would have been appraised of that on a monthly basis.”

Olson is now finalizing the food bank’s application for its regular funding from Gwaii Trust.

“After the month we should be back on track and will be doing it again,” she says. The food bank serves people from Sandspit to Tlell.

“I don’t think people understand how much of a need this is in the community. There’s a little bit going to transient people but its mostly locals…a lot of working families. It’s just a little monthly subsidy that helps people make ends meet.”

The food bank works with Gwaii Co-op and City Centre stores, as well as other local food programs and gardeners to provide as much fresh meat and produce as we can.

Monetary donations are key to the program’s success. The food bank runs an emergency pantry with non-perishable items but regular users are given cards redeemable at the grocery stores so they can offer foods with higher nutrient and protein values.

Depending on family size, the monthly cards range in value from $35 to $75.

The number of people relying on the food bank every month ranges from 100 to 200 people.

As news of the food bank’s situation began to spread through the community, Olson has received calls from village administrators and the general public offering help with upcoming fundraising initiatives.

“The things that’s most helpful to us, frankly, is money,” Olson says. “We probably give out between $3,500 and $4,000 each month. We always appreciate food we get for the emergency pantry, but right now the most helpful donation is cash.”

Olson is hopeful the program will open again in May, but cautions the timeline is dependant on how fast the funding application can be processed through Gwaii Trust.

“We have to get our balance down to zero. I just can’t keep handing out cards we don’t have the money to cover.

“I’ve cried over this. There are people on fixed incomes, there are elders who struggle so much and this little subsidy just helps them so much. To have to take that away from them has been — people have been so understanding but it’s hard to do that to people. Really hard.”



Like us on Facebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to target people ages 40+ in ‘high risk communities’ with AstraZeneca vaccine

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The former C&C Wood Products mill will begin producing products again later this month, under new ownership. (Observer file photo)
Williams Lake-owned company to restart production at bankrupt specialty mill in Quesnel

President of Kandola Forest Products says he expects to fill 90 full-time jobs by end of year

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

Most Read