With Christmas just weeks away, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society (GVFBS) is making a public appeal for volunteers to help get food to those in need.
The charity says it provides food support to more than 8,000 children, seniors and people with disabilities in Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby and the North Shore.
But in order to get critical food supplies to people who need it, the organization needs up to 20 volunteers working four-hour shifts at each of its 13 community food hubs every month.
“Our weekly food hubs are not only a place for people to access food but they are places to build community and connect with resources like nurses, dietitians and tax help,” GVFBS CEO David Long said.
“We’ve hit a critical gap in weekly volunteers for our food hubs and are appealing to the public for support to ensure we are able to deliver this important service to the communities we serve.”
The GVFBS says volunteers help by creating a warm and dignified environment for clients. Volunteers who speak a second language are of particular need.
New Westminster coordinator Rui Assumption said the shortage has meant that extra services that make the place feel homier, such as serving coffee and tea to clients or selling sandwiches and snacks, have been put on hold.
“We’ve got a real bad situation. We are running short of about 10 to 14 volunteers and as a result of that we’ve closed down the hospitality section,” he said.
“Every food bank in the Lower Mainland is facing the same problem. Without the volunteers you don’t have a backbone.”
The locations with the greatest need are Burnaby’s Southside Community Church, Vancouver’s St. Margaret’s Cedar Cottage Church and the New West Community Food Hub.
Anyone who would like to offer their time can contact the food bank at email@example.com or 604-880-7073.