Volunteers Shirley Coffin (right) and Hazel Arnold helped with this week’s kitchen duties in downtown Trail’s Iona Coffee Stop. Sheri Regnier photo

Colder days bring longer lines to Iona Coffee Stop

Cold weather expected to draw longer line ups at the downtown Trail Iona Coffee Stop

As the days get colder, volunteers at St. Andrew’s are expecting longer lines at their once-a-month Iona Coffee Stop.

“Again and again we see a lot of new faces,” says Rev. Neil Elliot. “There are new people coming to town we haven’t seen before … when we moved from being a food bank to being a coffee stop, initially the number of people dropped, but not as much as we thought,” the reverend added.

“But again, it’s building up and building up.”

Patrons were lining up on the chilly Tuesday morning this week waiting for doors to open at 10 a.m. – within a half hour the Anglican Church hall was full and volunteers busy cooking lunch or offering bread, fruit and pumpkin pie.

“Our congregation is very proud of what we do here,” said Rev. Elliot. “It’s important to reach out to the community and give to people you wouldn’t expect will be able to give back, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.”

Organizer Pam Hinton says the church welcomes an average 88 individuals to Iona Coffee Stop, where patrons are invited to sit down until 11:30 a.m. and socialize as a community while they listen to music and enjoy a warm meal.

The volunteer-run service does struggle with funding at times, but this week the St. Andrew’s congregation made sure there were a few special goodies to offer.

“Because it was Thanksgiving we decorated the church,”said Hinton. “We asked for any extras to be brought to the coffee stop, so we have a lot of produce left over from the holiday and people have been bringing in produce from their gardens.”

In addition to the once-a-month service which now includes singing Happy Birthday and cake, the Anglican Church sponsors seven families with monthly grocery hampers that are tailored to suit their needs.

And, when the family’s outlook changes, Hinton says they are more than happy to pay it forward.

“When things improve they let us know,” she explained. “Then we can take on another family. It’s happened before, (when) they are ahead of the game, they say to pass it on.”

Food Banks Canada reports that about 104,000 individuals, 32 per cent being children, access food banks across B.C. each month.

The organization points out that many people don’t realize it could be their neighbour or coworker who needs help from the food bank, because there is no typical person that turns to a food bank for help.

It could be a family with both parents working but still struggling or a low income single parent, it may be a senior whose fixed income doesn’t stretch far enough, or it may be someone with a sudden job loss or chronic health problem.

And in Trail, those scenarios are often seen.

Hinton says young children, not in school, were often accompanying mothers or grandmothers during the summer months.

Senior patrons often have to choose between medications and food, said Rev. Elliot.

And that leads to the Iona Coffee Stop mission – the St. Andrew’s monthly service is more than just a place to grab a quick meal – it is becoming known as a safe space for the needy community to visit and support one another.

“The atmosphere is supportive and encouraging,” Rev. Elliot said. “One of the things I hear talking to some of the people who use the food bank, is there is a culture in the community of people who are supported by this,” he shared.

“Which isn’t true in other places and we hope we are contributing to that … so that it’s not just something we are doing once a month, it’s changing the culture for our disadvantaged people who support each other – that’s wonderful to hear.”

The Iona Coffee Stop is made possible by financial donations from businesses and individuals in the Greater Trail area as well as from St. Andrew’s parishIonars.

Fourteen regular volunteers and drop-in helpers give their time to run the service.

For more information or to donate to the church pantry, call the St. Andrew’s office at 250.368.5581.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: Unsplash
‘Fall back’ one hour on Sunday

Local standard time means B.C. residents gain one hour of sleep starting Sunday, Nov. 1

Alvin Caron
Trail Retiree Curling: Skips take the day off

It was the thirds day to shine at Trail Retiree Curling

Night time view of Area B. Photo: RDKB.com
Conservation plan underway for Rivervale water

The plan is to reduce water demand and streetlight energy consumption by 20 per cent in four years

The bobsled race has traditionally been a staple event at the carnival. File photo
Upcoming Rossland Winter Carnival cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

This is the first time the carnival won’t be held in decades

With travel across the border still uncertain, Trail Youth Baseball’s all-star U18 Orioles applied to join the BC Minor Baseball’s College Prep League next season. Photo: Jim Bailey.
18U Orioles All-stars to play in BC college prep league

Border closure restricts American Legion option, 18U Orioles to join BC Minor Baseball next season

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Most Read