It is a dismal thing, being hungry. Markedly so during winter months when the body naturally burns extra calories in an effort to stay warm.
In British Columbia, where the living costs are among the highest in the country yet the minimum wage is the lowest, not everyone has the resources to eat well, or at all. That's where the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) Food Bank comes into play. They'll be holding their annual Firewood Sale Day on Saturday, Oct. 2 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the end of Millar Creek Road in Function Junction. Pick up a truckload for $100, or call Sara at 604-935-7717 beforehand to get a load delivered to your home for $150.
The wood has been donated by Vision Pacific. Local Automotive has allowed it to cure for a couple of years on their property in Function Junction.
One hundred per cent of the proceeds go towards groceries for food bank clients. Last year the firewood sale made just under $3,000 for the food bank.
"We are in the process of getting our shelves stocked and keeping them stocked through the upcoming busy season," said Food Bank coordinator Sara Jennings. "It changes every year, but we already have serviced more in the nine months than we did in the whole of last year. Typically if the job or economy in Whistler is struggling then the food bank is busier."
Between April 2009 and March 31, 2010 the food bank serviced 1,321 people, including 261 kids and an additional 42 adults and 49 children from outside Whistler. They received donations of 22,554 pounds of food and increased their overall numbers by providing food to 559 more individuals than they did the year prior - an increase of 42 per cent.
Jennings says there isn't any specific demographic that uses the food bank, and that service is there as people's personal fortunes rise and fall.
"We have families, we have older people, we have younger people," she continued. "We have people with a variety of needs, such as drug and alcohol issues or mental health issues. All kinds."
According to a paper released by the B.C. Federation of Labour, inflation over the past decade has eroded spending power by 15 per cent. "B.C.'s higher cost of living means minimum wage earners are even further behind their counterparts in other provinces. To match the spending power of a minimum wage earner in New Brunswick, a worker in B.C. would have to earn $12.62 an hour."
The food bank is open the first and third Monday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the trailer behind the Catholic Church on Lorimer Road.