Summertime for most is about barbecues and backyard picnics; ice cream outings and watermelon by the water.
But for some, the daily struggle puts thoughts of ‘fun food’ aside. For many in our community, it is a challenge to just put enough food on the table.
That is where the Columbia Valley Food Bank comes in. Every week of every month the food bank is open, to help those in need in the Valley. People from Edgewater to Canal Flats come to the Invermere-based facility to access emergency food supplies.
“We see families with young children to older demographics,” shares Lawrie Mack, chair of the Columbia Valley Food Bank. “We see people from travel – people come, show up in the Valley and don’t have anywhere to live or eat.”
They see those passing through the Valley and long-time residents; those in need of short-term help and people who have been accessing services for years.
“We have quite a diverse group of clients,” shared Kelsey Prichard, food bank co-ordinator.
Ms. Prichard, who grew up in the Valley and wanted to help give back through this position, said it is thanks to the volunteers and the broad community support that the food bank continues to run.
“It’s pretty amazing the community support we have,” shared Ms. Prichard.
Community groups, businesses and other non-profit organizations help the food bank through fundraisers of their own, such as an ongoing collection this summer by Copper Point Golf, which Ms. Prichard estimates has brought in close to 1,000 pounds of food so far.
The food bank shelves are lined with cereal, pasta, canned goods and more. Inside the freezer are packs of store-bought meat as well as the bounty from local hunters, shared generously for those in need. With summer growing season, Mr. Mack said they often get bins of fresh produce grown in local gardens and fruit trees. Thanks to generous financial donations, food bank volunteers are able to shop at the local grocery stores, which give deep discounts, to fill the gaps in the shelves.
An issue facing some food bank clients is transportation. Some clients cannot make it to the Invermere location, and bringing food to clients has proven a challenge. Mr. Mack and Ms. Prichard said if there is anyone with fresh ideas on resolving transportation issues, they would love to hear from you.
For people who want to donate food, there are bins at the local grocery stores. Ms. Prichard said clients really appreciate toiletry donations as well, such as deodorant and feminine products.
The food bank is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 1-2 p.m., and the third Wednesday evening of the month from 5:30-7 p.m. The Columbia Valley Food Bank is located behind and below the Invermere library.
For more information, or to volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.