Following a complaint on social media about volunteers receiving food, the 100 Mile House Food Bank is inviting anyone with concerns to come and sit in on their board meetings or to check their books.
Most of the volunteers are senior citizens, says executive director Bob Hicks. Lyndamae McNabb, the executive secretary of the food bank, adds that many of them are low income some of whom have signed up for regular hampers.
“We don’t give them privilege ahead of our recipients,” she says, adding that just because they volunteer at the food bank doesn’t mean they don’t need help.
Hicks says when volunteers take food it’s after their shift.
“I’d rather see them take it than give it to the pig farm.”
When anyone has concerns he wishes they would come to them or the board instead of going online.
“We have nothing to hide and I’d like to talk to these people. We want them to come up and volunteer and see exactly what we’re doing and we’re not gonna accuse anybody of anything or treat them differently. This is the public, we wanna hear from the public. We’d like to have the truth out,” says McNabb.
They get up to 1,000 pounds of perishables daily through Save-On-Food daily which they have to keep moving, she says.
“Or we put them in a big box in the back for the pig lady. At the end of the day because it’s not gonna stay all night, some of the sandwiches and some of the soups and everything, we can’t leave them until next day for the recipients.”
The meetings are every third Tuesday of the month and anyone is welcome after 2 o’clock.
“It’s open to the public all the time. The food bank has nothing to hide at all and there’s no secrets. If they wanna see our bank accounts and see where the money goes or if they want to check on our happenings [they’re] more than welcome.”
She noted some of the food they receive also goes towards things such as school lunches and breakfasts, community programs and the food bank in Clinton.
“Anybody that walks in … and asks us for food, an organization of whatever, we will help them.”
Food Banks BC Executive Director Laura Lansink says while they don’t tell food banks how to run or operate, together the 100 food banks that belong to the association have some member standard and some ethical food banking rules.
If they receive a complaint they would go to the food bank, get their side of the situation and try to resolve it, she says.
“I always encourage them, call the food bank first, speak with the food bank and sometimes things have progressed to the point where that’s no longer comfortable and so sometimes we will be a mediator and help them to resolve the issue. The bottom line is as a separate and unique charity which each food bank is with their own board of directors, they will have their own constitutions and bylaws which will dictate how they operate.”
This can be anything from opening hours to what ID you might need to show, for some you can just come if you’re hungry while some will request proof of income.
“We trust those food banks are doing what’s best for their community.”
Some food banks have people who are clients who may also be volunteering, she says.
“We would trust that they would do that in a way that wasn’t upsetting. So for instance, if volunteers are actually there working I would imagine that other people in the lineups saw them taking food first or something like that that could potentially be upsetting to them,” she says. “But absolutely in lots of communities, there are lots of volunteers who also have to be recipients at the food bank. When people go to a food bank and receive help, it’s our human nature, they’re thankful and they want to give back. So, it’s natural that they want to come and help and volunteer and, you know, do something nice because they appreciate that the food bank is there and they want to give back and volunteering at the food bank can be a way for them to give back.”
People with concerns are invited to drop by the food bank anytime from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. or phone 250-395-0173 and ask for Lyndamae.