Squamish residents stocked the Squamish Food Bank's empty shelves with 7,560 pounds of soup, cereal and other goods on the weekend.
The donations poured in during this year's B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive. Organized locally as an interfaith initiative, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Baha'i, Christian and Sikh communities pulled together to help the food bank feed the approximately 400 people who rely on it.
“The community has totally stepped up to the plate,” the society's president Susan Newman said, as she picked up goods that covered the tops of two large tables at the Squamish Sikh temple.
Last month, the food bank hit a crisis point when its supplies ran dry. The society annually receives $10,000 through the District of Squamish's Community Enhancement Grant program, which pays for about four months' worth of food purchases, Newman told The Chief. The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation also is a regular contributor, and this year Squamish Toyota donated $2,000, she said, adding private donations are needed to cover the rest of the year.
For the past several months, the number of “units” — food boxes meant to serve individuals and families — handed out by the food bank has fluctuated at between 90 and 110 per twice-monthly distribution.
Organizers of the Thanksgiving drive — Barb Hayden and Geraldine Guilfoyle — aim to expand the event next year.
Avtar Gidda, secretary of the Squamish Sikh Society, agreed. As more people learn about the initiative they can better prepare, he said, noting the Sikh community gathered the bundles of food in just a week.
“People are very generous,” Gidda said.
Last month, the boys rep soccer team, Squamish AC, lent a hand. The players collected bottles and cans at the Live at Squamish music festival. They raised $500 from the recyclables, money they donated to the Thanksgiving food drive.
Cheques made out to the Squamish Food Bank may be mailed to P.O. Box 207, Garibaldi Highlands, BC V0N 1T0. Tax receipts will be provided to those who donate $20 or more. For more information on the food bank call (604) 848-4316.