Goldstream Food Bank volunteers Karen Birtwistle and Sandy Prette pack an emergency hamper. Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

Community support keeps Goldstream Food Bank ticking

Back to school means lunch items needed

Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

While it’s nice to hear that the numbers are as good as they’ve been in the past few years, a lot of people are still in need of a helping hamper.

The demand is still high, said Gayle Ireland, president of the Goldstream Food Bank. “We deal with close to 10,000 people throughout the year, and another 2,000 hampers for families at Christmas.”

Almost a third of the people they assist are between the ages of an infant and 17.

Another challenge volunteers address is dealing with people with specialized dietary needs because of religion or culture. “We do our best to provide what we can for their specific needs,” she said.

The food bank follows established guidelines for nutrition and bases the size of the hamper on the number of people in the family. “We interview our clients to find out what they want and don’t want and try to build each hamper according to their needs,” Ireland explained.

The Goldstream Food Bank relies heavily on the community. Volunteers work closely with grocery chains to reclaim produce and other items. “We’re always working to expand that base,” Ireland noted. “It makes a world of difference in what we’re able to offer. There’s so many businesses, organizations, schools, churches and individuals that we rely on for support.”

She illustrated the difference individuals make by talking about an elderly woman who came in a few days ago with some produce from her garden that she couldn’t use herself. “That highlights the kind of ongoing support we get from the community.”

While September marks the annual return of kids to school, it also means more specific needs at the food bank. “We can use anything that helps with making lunches,” Ireland said. “We would also welcome school supplies that people may have and don’t need. We’re already starting to think about Christmas as well.” This is the first year the Christmas Hamper program will be administered by the Goldstream Food Bank Society, she added.

Ireland had a simple answer when asked what has kept her volunteering at the Goldstream Food Bank for more than 30 years, the past 16 as president. “It’s seeing how grateful people are,” she said without hesitation. “You see the tears, the relief on their faces, that they can put food on the table for their family.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pink Shirt Day uplifting for West Shore RCMP

Members of the West Shore RCMP have scheduled a variety of activities with students Feb. 26

Wear your rose-coloured glasses for the second annual Pink Shirt Gala

Anti-bullying event promises pink drinks, food and shirts

Pink Shirt Day originator to speak at Monterey school in Oak Bay

Travis Price continues anti-bullying movement with Island tour

No dogs allowed off-leash at Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford

New sign placed by Metchosin Farmers Institute on Wednesday, Feb. 19

Metchosin aims to enforce dog leash rule after dog attacks on sheep farm

Stillmeadow Farm loses three to five sheep every year due to loose dogs

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read