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Food bank gearing up for busy time



Whistler-Blackcomb donation will buy basic essentials

In a little trailer beside Whistler’s Catholic Church, two young guys poked their heads around the door, looking for some help to get them through the shoulder season.

They’ve lived in Whistler for over a year and they’ve never had reason to visit the food bank before. But as many know, the jobs are few and far between in the slow season and money is tight.

"(The food bank) is great," said Charles, who preferred not to give his last name.

He was laden with two plastic bags full of food, one with fresh produce and bread and the other with canned staples like peanut butter, mushroom soup, tuna and oatmeal.

"It helps us out during the dead season (when) there’s no jobs and money is scarce."

At the same time two Whistler-Blackcomb Lead Hand Residence Advisors were in the little trailer presenting food bank co-ordinator Sandra McCarthy with a cheque for $210 from Whistler-Blackcomb staff.

That money was raised at a Thanksgiving barbecue, sponsored by Nesters and Whistler-Blackcomb’s Food and Beverage division.

About 150 staff showed up at the Glacier building parking lot on the holiday Monday for some music, break dancing and food. In turn they were asked to make a donation to the food bank.

"It’s one of the community programs that is most in need," said Rhonda Watson, who was one of the organizers.

"It’s such a great service that they have here."

The money will go to buying some of the basic food items that the food bank donates.

As shoulder season lags on, this is the busy season for the food bank, which is open the first and third Monday of each month.

This past Monday about 70 people showed up at the food bank between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

McCarthy said they were mostly from staff housing, between the ages of 17 and 25, and most are in town looking for work.

"The next two or three times are the busiest throughout the year," said McCarthy.

For Charles, this was his first time using the food bank.

He heard about the service from some friends and admitted that he was a little embarrassed that he had to come there for help.

That’s not an uncommon feeling according to McCarthy.

"A lot of people do feel weird about it," she said.

"The longer they’re here the more they understand the swing of things. In staff it’s accepted."

She added that people should not feel uncomfortable using the service.

In the end, most give back, help out or donate when they are back on their feet.

On Monday there were four young guys from staff who helped donate the food.

"I would never have been able to do it without them," she added.

McCarthy said she will be looking for volunteers for the two big upcoming food drives, one on Friday, Nov. 29 – American Thanksgiving weekend – and one on Friday, Dec. 6.

This is the time of the year when the bank does its yearly food drive to collect and stockpile for the coming year.

McCarthy also needs help packaging food during food bank hours, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the first and third Monday of every month.

The food bank is located behind Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, at the foot of Lorimer Road.