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

The Compass - - Editorial - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.

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