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Crankworx short on volunteers

Roughly 100 people needed to help run events

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Crankworx could use a few extra hands.

Acknowledging the difficulty even employers are having filling paid positions, organizers estimate they need 100 people to help with the events for the festival, which runs Aug. 7 to 16.

Project logistics manager Nicole Freeman said the number is only a rough estimate and could change based on how much time those signing up can spare.

"We definitely have, I would say, the bulk of our volunteers," she said. "We know the valley in general of course is struggling for help at the moment, whether it's paid or volunteer work, so we're just reaching out and appealing in advance to make sure that we continue having the great crews that we have every year."

Freeman said though the current contingent of volunteers could pull together and make everything happen, the fear is that everybody would be spread a bit too thin and overall quality could suffer.

"Our biggest concern is participant experience. We always want every athlete in these events to know that there's someone along the course at every stop, that when they come in through our offices, that there's a volunteer there to talk to them," she said. "We want to make sure that they have everything they need to compete at their best because they train so hard for a lot of these competitions."

Though 10 different volunteer positions are listed on the Crankworx website, the greatest area of need is also arguably the most appealing to biking fans. Freeman explained the sport crew needs to be filled out — and those who help with that will get nice and close to all the action.

"The sports marshals and those people who are right beside the competition all day have the best seat in the house," she said. "We're making sure we get all the bikers in the valley who can come out. They'll hopefully be there during the event anyways, and if they can help us out in addition to grabbing a radio and helping us marshal the course, that's something we're looking at in particular right now."

Freeman added biking experience is helpful but not a requirement.

"You don't have to be a mountain biker. You just have to enjoy being outdoors, getting your hands a bit dirty and being part of the team," she said.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age, and those who are between 16 and 18 must have a parent sign a waiver.

Those who volunteer with receive a Crankworx T-shirt, and for every 12 hours worked, a voucher for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. At the wrap-up party, all volunteers will receive the chance to win from a pool of draw prizes.

Those looking to help out can sign up at www.crankworx.com/whistler/volunteer.

Foodworx returning for 2015

Those who might not be free to volunteer can still do some good through the festival.

Foodworx is back for this edition of Crankworx to support the Whistler Community Services Society's food bank.

Local businesses are being asked to solicit food or funds for the food bank, which typically experiences a lull in donations during the summer months.

"Donations are always low in the summer, so we depend on Foodworx to help fill our shelves at this time of year," Whistler Food Bank coordinator Sara Jennings said in a release.

The winning organization, determined by weight of food donated per employee, will receive a Call of the Wild ATV tour for four, which was donated by Canadian Wilderness Adventures.

Last year, the campaign brought in 755 pounds of food and over $7,000 to the food bank. Thornhill Real Estate Group topped all businesses in 2014.

Those looking to register or get more information can contact Jennings at foodbank@mywcss.org.

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