New food bank on North Shore
Lower Island Cove Salvation Army working hard to stay relevant
The Salvation Army corps in Lower Island Cove has activated a new food bank for needy families on the north shore of Conception Bay.
It’s part of an effort by the corps to stay connected with the region it serves, and help those who are having trouble making ends meet.
It’s called the “His Hand Extended Food Bank,” and it’s located at the citadel in Lower Island Cove.
It’s the first time in the 65-year history of the Lower Island Cove corps that it has operated a food bank, said Capt. Weldon Hayward, who, along with wife Major Donna Hayward, are the corps officers.
“If we only help out a handful of people … we’re building a relationship with them and we’re impacting the community. This is about being more relevant in the community,” said Capt. Hayward.
The food bank opened for two days this month — Nov. 10 and 24 — and will again open on Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The corps will also distribute Christmas hampers around Dec. 20, having assisted 30-plus families last year.
Starting in January, the food bank will open on the first and third Monday of each month.
The corps is working in co-operation with the United Church in Western Bay, which also operates a food bank. In the past, the United Church served the entire shore, but the Salvation Army will now take a large chunk of that area, from Northern Bay to Old Perlican-bay de Verde.
Shelves fully stocked
Those on social assistance, a low fixed income or low employment insurance benefits, along with those who present “special circumstances,” can access the food bank. Users can access the service once-a-month. Capt. Hayward the number of calls for assistance this past year increased, convincing him there is a need for a food bank.
The shelves are fully stocked with a shipment of food from the Community Food Sharing Association, along with donations from throughout the area.
“The Army always tries to meet the needs of people holistically, whether it’s spiritually, physically and mentally,” Capt. Hayward explained. “The food bank is an extension of that.”
The idea grew from the formation of a new governance structure at the church, which has nearly doubled the number of congregration members who are involved in ministry work.
The corps has about 140 families in the area from Kingston to Old Perlican, and has embarked on an initiative called “20-20 Vision” to ensure it remains relevant to the region long into the future, in light of the fact its congregation is aging.
“If it keeps going on this track, we might be closed or downsized,” said Capt. Hayward.
The corps also has a new mission statement — “Forward in Faith, Mobile in Mission and Surrendered in Service.”
Capt. Hayward said the food bank is an extension of this new mission statement.
Salvation Army Capt. Weldon Hayward (left) and Mildred Wheaden of Western Bay, the director of pastoral care at the Salvation Army citadel in Lower Island Cove, do an inventory of supplies at the new His Hand Extended Food Bank.