Debbie Cooper was making her weekly visit to the Black Creek Bread of Life Food Bank Tuesday picking up food for herself and her two cats.
She has starting using the food bank near two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I’d be pretty hungry if it wasn’t for the food bank and my cats would be very hungry,” Cooper told CHEK News.
The food bank opens once a week in the basement of the United Mennonite Church in Black Creek — it is the organization’s second home in its 11-year history.
Back in 2010, there were only 20 clients but that number has swelled to more than 500 today — a number that’s nearly doubled over the last year and a half.
“Being out here we still have the same challenges that food banks in the cities have,” said Chad Hooker, President of the Black Creek Bread of Life Food Bank. “We have the seniors on one side and the working poor on the other side, and in the middle is another demographic that includes the homeless.”
Twice as many volunteers help out every Tuesday as well.
“It’s the best thing I have done in a long time because we’re helping people,” said Linda Poole who has volunteered for 2 years.
“We ask them if they need a coffee, tea, we add a protein, a dessert, eggs, milk, cheese,” said Dan Stevenson, who has volunteered for 6 years.
The food bank is now preparing Christmas hampers and expects to deliver over 120 to families and individuals in time for the holidays. Food banks across Canada are seeing increased demand including at the Bread of Life Food Bank, where demand has been so high that the organization is looking for a new home again.
Hooker says it needs a permanent home and is looking for investors to help make it happen.
“We need our own location, we need our forever home,” said Hooker. “We really need to get investors around us, we need folks, businesses, corporations, individuals, every bit helps.”
He says it would be a hub for the North Island that would also help people access services for housing, financial assistance and counselling.
“We are in the community, for the community, and have the ability to help a lot of people, now we just need more space and financial help to get there,” Hooker added.
The Black Creek Bread of Life Food Bank can be reached at 250-218-0681.