The Wolfville Area Food Bank: 10 Years

The Wolfville Area Food Bank: 10 Years
By Emily Leeson

On October 13 students from the Wolfville School delivered 826lbs of food donations to the Wolfville Area Food Bank. Students carrying brown paper bags filled with the donations made the trip on foot while a van with the larger items drove around the block to the basement of Wolfville Baptist Church at 487 Main Street, where the food bank has been located since 2007.

This year the food bank is marking its tenth year in the community. Though the Wolfville Area Inter-Church Council has been addressing the issues of hunger and poverty in the area since 1970, the Food Bank it now sponsors was formally initiated in 2007. Volunteer Diana Shelley has been with the organization since the beginning. “We took off, not really knowing where we were going” she recalls. During its initial month of operation the food bank assisted about a dozen families.

Nowadays, the food bank assists around 110 families each month with the help of over 75 regular volunteers and the ongoing, much-needed and appreciated donations from the community. Volunteer Janet Roberts says that the community support for the food bank is what has kept it going. “We are very fortunate to have a strong community commitment and we count on it. We can only do this through the generosity of our donors.”

The operation of the food bank is no light effort. Behind the scenes every day of the week volunteers each play specific roles in making sure that those in need are able to receive the groceries that help stretch out their budget each month. Donations are received, shopping is carefully planned and done, shelves are stacked, appointments for food bank clients to receive their boxes are booked, food boxes are packed, fresh items are added on the pick-up day, clients are greeted and helped with their boxes, and the whole process begins again with each bi-weekly food bank schedule. The food boxes that go out are adjusted to the family size needed and the goods inside range from pantry staples to fresh produce, milk, and eggs.

One of the philosophies that the food bank team tries to follow is that although no one likely enjoys having to use the food bank, there’s no need for them to not enjoy their experience there. “It should be a pleasant and respectful place. We value respect and kindness” says Roberts.

“And I think we’ve been remarkably lucky” adds Shelley, of the volunteers who have worked with the food bank over the years. There’s been very little turn-over and the team devotes considerable effort towards making sure the right position is held by the right volunteer.

While the volunteers are busy operating the food bank, none of it would be possible without the financial support and donations from the community, like that of the Wolfville School students. Long-time volunteer Kathie Manko has been impressed with the continued support that the food bank receives, “Living in a small community, people are aware: this is our town and this is the way that the world should work.”

“These are our neighbours” adds Roberts.

The need though, doesn’t go away: every two weeks the food bank assists individuals and families in need and they couldn’t do so without generous support. As the holiday season begins, it’s the perfect time to think about others. This Halloween, Acadia students will take part in Trick-Or-Eat, a national food drive that they’ve done in the local area for over five years. The students will go door-to-door on Halloween night, but they won’t be looking for candy or mini chocolate bars — they’ll be asking for donations of food or financial contributions for the Wolfville Area Food Bank.

If you can, please give generously.

Here are a few of the most needed items requested by the Wolfville and Area Food Bank:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Pasta (Rotini, Spaghetti, Macaroni)
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Toilet Paper
  • Canned Fruit or Vegetables
  • Canned Meat or Fish
  • Canned Stews
  • Canned Milk
  • Cereal

Financial donations can be made to WAICC, PO Box 2270, Wolfville, B4P 2N5

Those interested in learning more about the Wolfville Area Food Bank can visit:
waicc.org/food-bank