Sheri Regnier photo Volunteers Thomas Seberry (right) and Dennis Passarini bagged potatoes

Community support strong but food bank demand keeps growing

Recent events bolster shelves but more people requiring service

Linda Radtke worries about goodwill in the Trail community being stretched to the limit.

New faces are coming through the Salvation Army doors everyday, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to feed them.

But hunger is non-denominational and these days it takes many churches, local stores and businesses plus a host of volunteers to meet the needs of the less fortunate in the Trail area.

Shelves were near bare at the Salvation Army food bank when the community stepped up in the nick of time, donating about $7,000 worth of food and $240 in cash.

The sizeable proceeds came in from Kootenay Savings Credit Union (KSCU) a few weeks ago following the organization’s annual Outdoor Movie Night, which attracted over 2,000 people.

Admission was free, but a non-perishable food item is requested.

“This is such a big deal because we were getting so low,” says Manager Linda Radtke from the Trail Salvation Army. “Our numbers have been so high with new clients and more people coming in who just can’t make it.”

Another church community has stepped in to help feed the hungry in Salmo, Fruitvale and Castlegar as well as the Trail United Church and Trail Salvation Army branch.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints hosted a “Giant Garage Sale” on Saturday with all proceeds going to the five local food banks.

Bishop Peter Redekop says the event, which the church hosts every two years, brought out community spirit in all ages, and over $3,700.

“The community support was way beyond what we expected,” Redekop told the Trail Times.

People came by the church’s outdoor sale, picked up a few items worth a dollar or two, but paid $20 and would not accept change, he said.

“We really appreciate the support the community gave us and all money raised with be evenly (split) amongst the five food banks.”

While the outpouring of generosity grants temporary reprieve, Radtke is concerned about the upcoming holiday season. She says the Rossland Avenue site is already averaging up to 14 hampers daily and at month end, will make 350 more.

“Trail is my favourite place because they keeping giving and giving,” said Radtke. “It’s tremendous but it’s scary because we have just bled the public to death. We already have a few things planned, like Fill the Bus, but we are going to need a lot of prayer to make it through Christmas.”

Elsewhere the community digs in weekly to feed people through the Tuesdays in Trail program. Volunteers from the Anglican, United and Holy Trinity Parish gather in church basements to welcome long lines of people into their food bank that serves on average, 130 people.

“The United Church philosophy is, we feed hungry people, that’s all it is,” say Marylynn Rakuson, volunteer for the Trail United Church food bank. “The churches are totally funded by the community and run by volunteers. And if you are hungry in Trail, you can get food every Tuesday.”

The food bank is run in the Trail United Church three times each month, and across the street at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church the second Tuesday of each month.

Half an hour into this week’s service, volunteers had already dispersed 37 bags of non-perishables as well as donated bread, yogurt, and fresh potatoes, onions, carrots and apples.

“We have so many new people in town,” Rakuson explained. “We did the downtown dinner on Sunday and the volunteers were saying, “Holy moly are there ever a whole bunch of new people in town,” she added. “We have our regular ones but also many new ones and many more families accessing us.”

For more information or a tour of the food bank, contact Rakuson at 250.364.2604 or Linda Zol at 250.367.9185.

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