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It’s been a long, arduous pandemic for all Canadians, including those lucky enough to call Sun Peaks home.
But despite the challenges, a local food bank set up in the early days of COVID-19’s impact on B.C. has seen little use. The people behind it want to get the message out that it is still available if you are in need of help.
Sun Peaks Community Helps (SPCH) started it in early April as a direct response to COVID-19, launching its food bank shortly after.
Sydney Johnson, one of the volunteers behind the effort, said the organization was able to
secure funds and food donations thanks to generous support from local businesses and individuals.
The food bank was also able to secure a brick and mortar location in Peaks West, thanks to Meranti Developments, which owns the space and is allowing SPCH to operate free of charge.
Johnson said the food bank has seen little take up so far.
“We have had a few clients, but we really haven’t had an overwhelming amount of clients,” said Johnson.
She suggested that could owe to government support, such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit that has assisted out-of-work Canadians.
SPCH offers its services by appointment only. Those interested can contact the organization by email at [email protected].
Johnson said the organization is here to serve and will provide non-judgemental help.
“They can get a hold of us by emailing and letting us know what it is they need,” she said. “Do they need food resources? We just need to know like, are you a family? Are you a single person? Any allergies? Are you vegan?
“We have pretty much have all dried and tinned goods available… but if we need to, we have financial resources to go and pick up some groceries for someone in need.”
SPCH is also dedicated to helping people maintain a positive outlook during these trying times.
In the early days of the crisis, it had a fully-volunteer-staffed crisis line set up to field calls from people in distress. This has since been discontinued due to a lack of demand.
SPCH does, however, offer a list of free resources on its site that people can contact if they are facing a challenging time.
Linda Hollyer, another volunteer with the group, underlined that the food bank is for anyone in need.
“It’s for the Sun Peaks community, for anybody that needs it,” she said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be COVID related. We know that there’s going to be some people that are going to lose some of their hours in January and February, especially if our tourists don’t come. So we’re prepared for that.”
Johnson added it’s about neighbours helping neighbours and that there should be no stigma attached to using the food bank.
You can check out SPHC’s website at spcommunityhelps.ca.