Last month, St. Bart’s Food Bank in Gibsons saw a nearly 50 per cent increase in the people it served over previous months this year.
In the first four months, the food bank served 438 people. In May alone, it served 158, with clients receiving food hampers, produce, frozen meat and discretionary household items, shared food bank coordinator Pamela McElheran.
“Which again, we believe speaks to the current rate of inflation, the gas costs and everything else that’s going on,” said McElheran. “So that was pretty significant.”
In looking at how it can best serve the community, the food bank is going to take the funds from the Coast Wide Food Bank Drive and put them toward a hot lunch program, with a soft launch June 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“It’ll be once a month to start. We’re going to see how it goes,” said McElheran. “We’re all volunteer-run…We have to get a sufficient number of volunteers to run it.”
The hot lunch steering committee includes four clients of the food bank. “We’re really trying to partner with our clients to help meet their needs,” said McElheran. That includes making sure St. Bart’s isn’t overlapping with existing services. “Right now, the Salvation Army offers the lunch on Tuesdays and [Fridays] – sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it isn’t. But we’re doing it on a Wednesday deliberately, because we know that they offer some services on a Tuesday or Thursday.”
The church also just finished renovations on a new kitchen. Their intent is to use that kitchen for community needs.
“We’re so proud of being able to serve this community but we can only serve this community because this community is generous to us. We don’t receive any government funding at all.”