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Overworked Food Bank Feeding Injured Workers as WorkSafeBC Reports Surpluses Over $2.2 Billion - " . . . a total comprehensive surplus of $971 million for 2006 . . . In addition, an unappropriated surplus of $1.3 billion . . . ".

May 11 2007

Empty food bank shelves, freezers testament of dire need for donations

"The food bank is benefitting the working poor in the Comox Valley, along with students, pensioners, and persons on WCB and disability funding. "

By Matthew Strader
Record Staff

The Comox Valley Food Bank needs a Christmas this month.

“Low? Ha!” lamented food bank volunteer Carol Fischmann as she gave a tour filled with empty shelves, barren freezers and stories of frustration and heartache.

“We’re getting desperate. And that’s the truth.”

The Christmas rush has ended for the food bank. It happens every year, and the staff is ready for it, but the drought in donations this year has been like no other, and Fischmann can only ask the community to react.

“We’re a caring town,” said Fischmann. “This entire place is volunteer run, from the ground up.

“Everyone donates their time and money because they care ––– right now, we need people to care enough to bring food.”

The food supplies are getting so low that the bank has specific needs.

“It isn’t just the extras that we’re low on,” said Fischmann.

She explained the food bank will give extras (treats) with many of the items they give out. The extra in the bag Fischmann opened up for this tour was a can of cranberries.

Staples the food bank are in need of now include: laundry soap, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, sugar, coffee, cereal, peanut butter

The food bank is down to one two kilogram bag of sugar for this entire week. Only three jars of peanut butter were available last week for dispensing to needy families.

Fischmann also noted that volunteers are feeling the stress of saying, “no.”

“We’re all here to help,” added Fischmann. “None of us want to turn anyone away.”

The Food Bank helped more 1,300 people last month on Thursday’s bag-day alone.

In their current condition they have been tapping into a reserve of donated money to buy such essentials as rice and ground beef.

This past Monday they had 29 boxes of bread compared to the usual 60.

A little more than one shopping cart of cans sits ready for the week, a number Fischmann said would usually be around four or five. The food bank is benefitting the working poor in the Comox Valley, along with students, pensioners, and persons on WCB and disability funding.

“It is not just the homeless,” said Fischmann. “This is for the entire community.”

The food bank is open Mondays to Wednesdays from 8 a.m. until noon. On Thursdays they open for bag day from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Fridays they open from 8 a.m. to noon.

© Copyright 2007 Courtenay Comox Valley Record

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