The 100 Mile Food Bank was almost packed up for the day when another shipment rolled up to the door, carrying a truckload of food, water and other goods on Aug. 4. The truck was filled with donations from the Lower Mainland, co-ordinated by United Way.
North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon connected with the United Ways of the Lower Mainland and the Thompson Nicola Cariboo, and rallied with Save-on-Foods, RBC and other partners to fill the truck and bring it to 100 Mile House, says Ashlee Hyde of United Way.
“People have been out of work for however long. They had to be out of their own home and work. They really need the support right now, especially those that are lower income that really count on being able to go to work and being able to feed their families,” says Hyde.
“It’s been quite a need and I think that in the next little while, especially for those who have lost their homes, their need is going to grow.”
For many, the Food Bank in 100 Mile House is filling that need. Over the course of 20 minutes, at least seven came through the doors and left with hampers heaped with food and supplies.
“The need has been great,” says Kathy Haveman, secretary-treasurer of the food bank.
Since July 23, they’ve handed out close to 500 hampers, feeding over 1,100 people.
The hampers are filled with everything from food to pet food.
“We’re giving them milk, eggs. We’re giving them margarine, produce like potatoes, carrots, onions, bananas, oranges, apples,” says Haveman, adding that they also include a flat of water, incidentals and treats like chips and crackers. Books and clothing are also available.
So many have donated to the bank that Haveman says she can barely remember all of them, pointing to companies like Donex, Save-on-Foods and BC Hydro, as well as too many individuals to count.
An Islamic relief organization from Edmonton donated supplies and Albion Farms &Fisheries out of Richmond brought up roasts, hamburger and meat for others to take. A group from Chilliwack dropped off horse tack and supplies, while another from the Stettler area in Alberta collected supplies for a week and drove up on their own.
In turn, the 100 Mile Food Bank has moved supplies further up the chain, to organizations in the area such as the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre, the Women’s Centre, Loaves and Fishes, as well as shipping supplies towards Bella Coola, Williams Lake, Canoe Creek and the Anaham Reserve.
“It’s to help everybody. They can come every fourth day to help feed themselves,” she says, noting that some haven’t received money from Red Cross yet.
“People are not wanting to come, but people are coming because [other] people are prodding them,” she says.
“It’s good they come because they were short on everything. They lost a lot of things in their fridges, cupboards — smoke damage, whatever — and it’s just a good thing to have the whole community come together as well as the province to come and really help.”
The only questions people are asked when they arrive is how many people (and animals) they need to feed. Efficient workers bundle up a number of supplies and make sure they are stocked before sending them off again. “You just do the best you can,” says Haveman.
The food bank is currently open across from Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. After hours, visitors can call 250-397-2571 for emergency supplies.
“It’s been a hot summer and it’s not over,” says Haveman. “Thank you to everyone for all your help and all the firefighters for their help to get us through this.”