Revelstoke’s food bank experienced a spike in demand at the start of the pandemic and demand remains high in 2022 as the rising cost of food, fuel and housing means more people employed full-time can’t make ends meet.
The Community Connects Food Bank is hosting its spring Fill-the-Van donation drive on June 3, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., which will help meet some of the demand, and also serve as a showcase for new renovations to the food bank and a new community kitchen at the 416 Second Street West building.
For the latest installment of the Revelstoke Mountaineer podcast, we spoke with Hannah Whitney, Community Food and Outreach Coordinator, and Erin MacLachlan, Co-director of Community Outreach and Development at the Community Connections Food Bank. They provided updates and talked about trends and changes at the food bank.
A focus is shifting the understanding of who uses the food bank by dismantling the stigma of the “deserving” and “undeserving” food bank user.
“There is no eligibility requirement to attend the food bank. Anyone can come and participate in the program if it is something they feel like they need,” MacLachlan said.
The food bank’s distribution centre is seeing more people who are working full time but can’t make ends meet, MacLachlan said. “This isn’t about individuals struggling to work and not being able to provide for their families. People are working really hard. They find jobs and they do their best and they find a place to live and they do their best but then they just don’t have enough money to make ends meet,” MacLachlan said. “That’s not a personal problem, that’s not a problem that exists within somebody. That’s a systemic issue.”
The increasing costs of basics like food, fuel and housing is adding to the issue.
“One of the trends that is shown in our work in the last years is just the growing inequality across Revelstoke and across Canada,” MacLachlan said. “The cost of living does not match peoples’ incomes.”
Whitney said the program is constantly adapting to community needs, focusing on participation and actively listening to clients’ needs. “They are building that program with us.”
For the June 3 food drive, they encourage cash or non-perishable food donations.
The food bank also has room to take on volunteers in many role, including food processing, distribution, kitchen jobs, delivery driving and more. They have flexibility and can accommodate those with only a few hours to spare.
You can also donate to the June 3 event online via the Canada Helps app here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/905
Podcast: Revelstoke Food Bank update and Fill-the-Van drive
Click on the SoundCloud app to listen to our interview with Hannah Whitney, Community Food and Outreach Coordinator, and Erin MacLachlan, Co-director of Community Outreach and Development at the Community Connections Food Bank
Revelstoke Mountaineer Podcast, Mar. 24, 2022: The Revelstoke Food bank is hosting a spring Fill the Van food drive on June 3, 2022, and also hosting a grand opening event for their new community kitchen and food bank. In this podcast, we spoke with Revelstoke Food Bank staff members Hannah Whitney, Community Food and Outreach Coordinator, and Erin MacLachlan, Co-director of Community Outreach and Development. The interview focuses on an update on the food bank since the start of the pandemic, when usage spiked. We looked at trends in the past couple of years, which include increasing systemic inequality in the community, incomes not keeping up with cost of living, and the food bank’s efforts to eliminate barriers and dismantle stigma. Click on the SoundCloud link above to listen to the interview.