The 100 Mile House Food Bank Society received a $60,000 Community Gaming Grant from the B.C. Liberal government on Nov. 28, and it will help the society to continue providing hampers to individuals and families who need the support.
“I can’t think of a more deserving organization than the 100 Mile House Food Bank Society, which helps some of the most vulnerable people in our community, says Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.
“The holiday season is a time for coming together, and everyone can do their part by donating to the food bank, so no one in 100 Mile House goes to bed hungry.”
Food bank executive director Bob Hicks says the society really appreciates receiving grant.
“The food bank can use it and we would like to thank Donna Barnett for helping us get it.”
Hicks says the food bank is very busy and is serving between 350 and 400 people a month, which is a 10 to 12 per cent increase from 2012.
“I’m hoping it will drop down once the cold weather is gone,” he adds.
“Where it’s going up is with the seniors. They’re on fixed incomes and everything else goes up, but their pensions sure as heck don’t.”
He explains the $60,000 grant will help pay for expenses, such as rent and utilities, and they will purchase food with it, too.
Hicks says the rent for the building is $1,600 a month, which is $300 less than they paid three years ago after the landlord gave them a reduction.
“We’re just hoping he will renew it again.”
The 100 Mile House facility serves as a hub for the National Food Sharing System (food that is donated by the big manufacturers – General Mills, Campbell’s, Kraft and many others). Hicks notes the local food bank takes eight per cent of every shipment that comes and is distributed to the 28 food banks in northern half of British Columbia, and to the sub-hub in Kamloops, which looks after eight foods banks.
“Any food or cash that is donated in 100 Mile House stays in our area. It doesn’t go out to these other food banks, or any where else; it stays right here.”
If one of the food banks the 100 Mile House Food Bank delivers to declines to take the shipment, then the local organization can distribute it locally.
In the last three months, Hicks says, the local food bank has donated 13 skids (minimum four- by four- by eight-foot) of food to Loaves & Fishes Outreach.
He notes that every third Tuesday of the month, the 100 Mile House & District Women’s Centre Society picks up between 15 to 30 cases of food.
Hicks, who has been a longtime volunteer and president of the society, is now the executive director and is getting paid $1,000 a month. Noting he puts in between 100 and 150 hours at the food back, Hicks says he’s not getting paid very much for the time he puts in.
Hicks explains he and Kathy Haveman run the operation with the help of the volunteers, and he adds they can always use more volunteers.
“What we need are some younger volunteers. We have volunteers in their seventies and eighties, so we could definitely use younger people.
Folks who are interested in helping can phone him at 250-395-3923, and if he is not there, they can leave message, or they can call him at home at 250-397-2571.
Organizations interested in applying for Community Gaming Grants, full application information can be found at www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/gaming.