Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock

Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

"We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …"

Members of a Comox church are finding an opportunity amongst the changes brought about by the pandemic, and are aiming to find more ways to help their community.

Re. Sulin Milne of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in the town said prior to COVID-19, the church – located at 218 Church Street – had a Unity Cupboard which provided adults and children with groceries and household essentials. Volunteers were available twice a week to provide coffee and goodies, fill grocery bags and offer neighbours respect, hospitality and a safe place to visit.

“When COVID struck, we thought, ‘what do we do?’ We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges and wanted to continue offering a food box.”

Changing course slightly, members decided to create a Bridging the Gap program, where recipients receive boxes with non-perishable food which bridges the gap, explained Milne.

“We wanted to keep up the number of boxes with items we would (normally hand out with the Unity Cupboard).”

The idea began at the church’s Zoom Christmas party with a ‘silly auction’ of items where parishioners bid on to raise initial funds for the program. From there, the cupboard of items grew, with members bringing in food items and donations being accepted from the community.

She added the reception to the program has been strong; the church put up a notice about the program on their bulletin board and it has also spread by word of mouth Any community members can sign up for a box.

Initially, Milne said they were only handing out a few boxes a week, but she added the need – especially in Comox where many people may not be able to access the food bank in Courtenay – is there.

Those who are interested in a food box can contact the church and either pick it up at their facility or Milne can drop off the box at a residence.

Anyone interested in donating items can do so at the church; nonperishable items are accepted along with treats (“everyone needs some chocolate,” noted Milne) or cash allocated towards the program.

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