United Way provides Carbonear food bank with helping hands
BMO pitches in on effort to help meet the needs of those requiring food bank services
A Carbonear food bank received some extra volunteer help on June 14.
The St. Vincent DePaul food bank in Carbonear saw plenty of traction on Thursday afternoon. Through the help of the United Way, representatives from the Bank of Montreal in Bay Roberts went to Carbonear for the day to lend some helping hands to an organization that has been lending their own helping hands to the community for quite some time.
June 14 marked United Way’s eighth annual Day of Caring, a country-wide initiative set up by the organization with a main goal of increasing the capacity of certain community groups. United Way keeps a close relationship with a number of workplaces and charities, providing funding when needed for different projects the groups may be undertaking.
“We send out a request and ask the charities to send us along a list of projects they’re looking to do, how many people they’d need, what time, and what they want to see done,” explained Tammy Davis, executive director for United Way Newfoundland & Labrador. “Then, we send the opposite out to our corporate partners, and tell them our Day of Caring is coming up, and ask if they’ve got a team (of volunteers) they’d like to submit, and then we match them.”
Davis says United Way’s Day of Caring provides people with a chance to help out the community in ways they may not have had the time or opportunity to do before. She says many communities in the province face similar issues that require the help of volunteers, and Carbonear is no exception.
“People understand that there’s issues in the community, but often times they’re going about their everyday life, and simply don’t have the opportunity to really see and understand what the real issues are,” she said. “I think people don’t really grasp the true, deep issues in the community.”
The St. Vincent De Paul food bank has, in the past, had issues keeping items on the shelves due to the amount of traffic the organization sees in the run of an average month. Kerri Abbott of the food bank explained the situation prior to Thursday’s event, telling volunteers that many people often don’t realize just how many residents of the area have come to rely on the food bank for the essentials, which she says people often cannot afford after paying monthly bills.
“After they pay their bills, and handle those necessities, sometimes they’ve only got about $10 or so left at the end of the month, without even buying any extra things,” she said. “We get people from all walks of life come in here, it isn’t just a few people down on their luck. It’s most people these days.”
Davis said these issues are prevalent in other parts of the province as well, and the organization’s Day of Caring is a means of combating that, sending volunteers out to help in whatever way they can.
“It’s basically poverty,” she said of the amount of people relying on the food bank, and the numbers the group sees on an annual basis. “Poverty leads to a whole host of issues like food insecurity, housing instability, and all those sorts of things. It’s groups like this food bank that are helping address those issues, and that’s what we want to help as well.”
The food bank saw just under 10 volunteers on the afternoon of June 14, including some from BMO, as well as Carbonear Deputy Mayor Chris O’Grady. Together, the group helped plant flowers in beds at the front of the property, fill vegetable gardens with soil in preparation for some backyard gardening the food bank will be undertaking, and any other such work the bank needed to carry out its important job for the upcoming summer season.
Some of the volunteers on Thursday, June 14 from left to right, Deputy Mayor Chris O’Grady, Kerri Abbott, Terri Parsons, Marina O’Flaherty, Pam Burton, Debbie Dawe and Darryl Porter.
BMO volunteers Terri Parsons and Debbie Dawe planting some flowers in beds in front of the food bank.
Darryl Porter, another of BMO’s volunteers, filling an herb garden with soil.