Amber Summerhayes, the 100 Mile Food Bank Society’s grant coordinator, sorts through some fresh produce at the food bank. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Amber Summerhayes, the 100 Mile Food Bank Society’s grant coordinator, sorts through some fresh produce at the food bank. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Food Bank considers purchasing building

Demand for the food bank’s services has been increasing throughout the pandemic

The 100 Mile House Food Bank Society is considering buying its current building to boost capacity and serve a growing client demand.

Amber Summerhayes, the food bank’s grant coordinator, said the society is currently discussing the idea, which would allow them to apply for grants and upgrade the facility at 199 7th St. She has already applied for a Community Gaming Grant to help fund the possible purchase, which she said would cost around $350,000, based on their last quote.

“Because we don’t own the building (grant holders) don’t want to invest in infrastructure we might leave,” Summerhayes said. “Ownership would open up a huge different avenue for me to get money for us and allow us to expand with another bay.”

The move comes as demand continues to climb at the food bank. Summerhayes said since the pandemic, there has been a steady uptick in the number of residents needing food bank services.

However, while the demand previously came in waves, it has been fairly constant over the past few months.

“We’re in that weird in-between where they’re starting to cut off COVID support and get back to normal but not everyone is there yet,” Summerhayes said. “It’s been almost two years of negative economic impact on everybody and I think even the people who were trying to hold out and not ask for help are really feeling the pinch.”

READ MORE: Food Bank anticipates busy season

About 530 registered recipients rely on the food bank in some way. On hamper days – the first and third Tuesday of each month – the food bank supports between 120 and 150 clients. During regular weekdays, when they give out fresh produce, between 10 to 40 people come through the doors, Summerhayes said.

“Those numbers are definitely high. We didn’t use to see 38 people on a weekday before and we do quite regularly now,” she said.

Food and cash donations are always welcomed at the food bank, which has deals in place with Freshco and Save-on-Foods, which can make a dollar go “three times as far.” At the moment, the food bank is spending up to $3,800 a month on food and still sometimes runs out on hamper and produce days, she added. Pre-pandemic, the cost was about 2,500 a month.

With Christmas on the horizon, Summerhayes encourages the public to consider donating to events like the RCMP’s Cram the Cruiser or Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie Campaign.

The food bank also needs volunteers to come out from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Sunday.

Volunteers need to be in good physical condition to lift heavy boxes of food. Those interested in volunteering can drop by the food bank in the mornings to sign up or call them at 250-395-3923.



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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