The Squamish Food Bank, according to its website, is a non-profit, charitable society. This food bank provides various supplemental groceries, non-perishable food items, to those in need within the Squamish area. Every month, hundreds of people in need rely in the services of this society, including individuals, families, single parents, and seniors. According to the 2015 report published by the Squamish Food Bank, every month, more than 450 people sought help and assistance from this centre, with over 30% of those recipients being minors under 18 years of age.
The Squamish Food Bank was created in 1986, more than 30 years ago, by a group of concerned residents of Squamish during a time when those in need were not being helped by any organizations and were left to knock on church doors. Since then the food bank has continued to grow and improve its services in the community by creating new partnerships with other non-profit organizations and recruiting more volunteers. Currently, according to this website of this organization, 80 per cent of the food stocks are purchased with only 20 per cent donated from the local community. Due to the low percentage of stock donated form the local community, the goal of the food bank is to increase community involvement, allowing the food bank to better serve its users. Since it was founded, the food bank distributes food on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
Throughout the year, the Squamish Food Bank organizes several events in an attempt to increase the community’s involvement in this food bank and also collect more donations. Such events include a Fall drive, Christmas event, and finally, a Christmas in July event.
This month the Squamish Food Bank organized its Christmas in July event, which has now become a tradition of this centre. During this event, numerous volunteers of this food bank and other non-profit organizations collected donations in the form of cash and groceries outside three main grocery stores – Nester’s, Save On, and Craig’s Independent. Volunteers worked hard , from 10 am to 6 pm during two days, through several ways. Some volunteers handed out shopping lists with necessary items such as caned canned fish and meat, pasta and rice, peanut butter, canned vegetables, and wholegrain cereal. Other volunteers collected donations in for of cash or cheque and even held a raffle with great prices sponsored by the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, Fergie’s café, the Britannia Mine Museum, and Cut’n Loose hairdressers. Finally, other volunteers from the Squamish Lions club hosted a hot dog BBQ in front of Craig’s Independent, with all the proceeds going directly to the food bank.
While I have volunteered for other non-profit organizations in Squamish, I had never before volunteered for the Squamish Food Bank. As a result, when I heard about this event via Facebook, decided to help as much as possible. After talking to Christina, who organized this event with the help of many others, I learned that I was placed to volunteer on Saturday (the second day of this event) in front of Save On. While it was a windy and cold day, the generosity of our community members warmed my heart. I was very happy to see the whole community coming together and donating anything that they could in help of those in need in the Squamish area. I would highly recommend everyone to volunteer for the Squamish Food Bank because it is a very rewarding and eye-opening experience.
Thank you to the Squamish Food Bank for giving me this amazing opportunity. I look forward to volunteering for this organization again in the near future, that does so much for our community.