Food banks need year-round support

"Each week in Trail, more than 100 people count on the community generosity that is provided at a Food Bank."

Does this area need another grocery store? Interesting question, considering the three existing full service stores are more than adequate to most shopping lists. Why, then, should we be surprised to know that there are also three local food banks? Feeding hungry people works best with more than a one-size-fits-all approach, whether it’s a check-out or a hand-out.

Canadians are generous folks, with many blessings and ready to share. Earthquakes and epidemics call for emergency giving, but closer to home we also have neighbours in need. Each week in Trail, more than 100 people count on the community generosity that is provided at a Food Bank. And yes, there are three! How do these work?

Most of us are familiar with the Salvation Army, those soldiers of Christendom who ring bells on street corners at Christmas time, and fill hampers with toys and bellies with food. At Kate’s Kitchen, soup is served for lunch four days a week, and dinner on Thursdays — pay as you are able. Kate’s is affiliated with the Salvation Army of Canada and Bermuda as well as with Food Bank Canada, but despite these connections its resources are almost exclusively from community support.

National affiliation requires paperwork, so a hungry person applying here must fill out an application as well as an income test, in order to be eligible for a grocery hamper once a month. But there is no point applying for a hamper on a Tuesday, because … on Tuesdays in Trail, hampers are provided downtown by one of the two other local food banks.

Working collaboratively, two churches on opposite sides of Pine Avenue host morning events where hungry people are fed. The Trail United Church and St. Andrew’s Anglican Church open their doors – each on an assigned week — to a gathering place of support and sustenance.

The two work slightly differently, but both provide roughly 100 adults and children with food to help stretch the budget. No application required, just sign in with a name and household headcount. Coffee and snacks are provided, and a chance to connect with supportive people.

The three Trail food banks may have links to Christian organizations, but there is no religious agenda to feeding the hungry. No prayers or preaching are required, nor is it even necessary to enter a church because each facility has a separate street access. Volunteers and contributors come from a variety of backgrounds, some of faith and some not; many have walked paths parallel to those now receiving food.

Some of our community’s most vulnerable members rely on our food banks. Your help can make a difference. Can you write a cheque? Volunteer a few hours a month? Collect donations at your place of work or worship?  For more information, call 250 368-5581 and ask Patty about Tuesdays in Trail, or call the Salvation Army’s Family Services at 250 364-0445. Please don’t wait till Christmas – our food banks need you year-round.

Jennifer SirgesTrail