The Powell River Action Center Society runs the community Food Bank. As a member of Food Banks BC and Food Banks Canada, we have joined the fight to eliminate hunger in our community.
Our dream is too work ourselves out of jobs by striving to support people who struggle to feed themselves and their families. The hope is for a future were our services are no longer needed, our neighbors shouldn’t go hungry.
(Note: The food bank is run by Powell River Action Centre Society, and not by PR Brain Injury Society – though they do have the same board members, and some projects use PRBIS space, they are separate operations.)
Powell River Food Bank began in the mid 80’s and was located where museum archive building in Willingdon Park is now.
The massive unemployment of the early 80’s, along with growing awareness of increased poverty (e.g. people with disabilities and single parents struggling financially as the cost of rent, food & utilities went up but not income), motivated concerned citizens of Powell River to help their neighbours in need. Provincial government funding in the form of Unemployed Action Centres enabled food banks and other helping societies get started.
Here are some newspaper articles from the early days. We have several scrapbooks that were compiled over the years. Really interesting stuff. (Click on the photos to see them larger.)
Renee Rose was one of the first Executive Directors. Gina Kendrick took over not long after and remained until 2016, Eventually she was too ill to continue and word got out that new management was necessary. Additionally, the existing board members were ready to move on to other projects.
A New Direction
A solution to this was found by Deborah Dee, Executive Director of Powell River Brain Injury Society. The PRBIS board agreed add to their community contributions by filling board positions of the Powell River Action Centre Society (the official name of this food bank’s organization).
Manager Savanna Dee has continued Gina’s legacy of providing food to those who need it in Powell River, while making positive changes such as:
- including fresh produce in the hampers
- buying locally
- renovating the Food Bank location
- and more…
Powell River Action Centre Society – Board of Directors List – 2016-2017
Term : September 09 2016 to September 08 2017
Jena Lorhbach: President
Dewar Boutilier: Vice-president
Jim Donnelly: Secretary
Harvey Allison: Treasurer
Jürgen Koppen: Board Director
Doug Logan: Past President
The Ethical Foodbanking Code
Food Banks Canada and our network of Provincial Associations and Affiliate food banks will:
- Provide food and other assistance to those needing help regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, income source, age, or mental or physical ability.
- Treat all those who access services with the utmost dignity and respect.
- Implement best practices in the proper and safe storage and handling of food.
- Respect the privacy of those served, and maintain the confidentiality of personal information.
- Not require payment of any kind for donated food or consumer products, at any time, from those assisted by their respective programs.
- Acquire and share food in a spirit of cooperation with other food banks and food programs.
- Strive to make the public aware of the existence of hunger, and of the factors that contribute to it.
- Recognize that food banks are not a viable long-term response to hunger, and devote part of their activities to reducing the need for food assistance.
- Represent accurately, honestly, and completely their respective mission and activities to the larger community.
The Society operates the Food Bank. All activities are associated with the operation of the Food Bank and assisting the people who use the service to access other services in the community.
Activities include but are not limited to:
- Food purchases, food pick-ups, sorting for labels and dates, stocking shelves, making up food bags for individuals, couples, and families with any number of children, as well as keeping a rolling inventory of the food, liaising with grocery stores, and assisting the public who come in to the Food Bank, as it is not an easy thing to ask for food.
- Everything associated with a food drive, of which there are many in a year.
- Coordinating volunteers is a huge activity. Volunteers come from all corners of the community; the church, the general public, the school system, the court system (as community service hour volunteers), the city and the region, plus many more.
- Keeping a list of the visitors to the Food Bank, how often they access the service, how many in the family, what ethnicity they are, where they live, what their source of income is, and much more.
- All food that comes in as a donation must be counted, labels checked for best by date, sorted, shelves stocked and a price must be attached to each can and box that comes in.
- Ordering food, checking for sales and coupons, liaising with media and others who hold annual food drives, and coordinating the pick up and sorting of all the food, sometimes semi-trucks full. the financial end of the operation, keeping records, writing receipts, liaising with the accounting firm and the bank, and all the other activities associated with the operation.
- The janitorial and maintenance of the physical site where the food is stored and where the food is handed out.
- Many, many more activities are associated; for example, consider everything required to operate a grocery store, that is what is needed to operate the Food Bank, plus a bit more on the donation and charitable
- Keeping up to date and informing the general population of the Food Services that are available in the community.
- Keeping a high visibility in the community also has activities associated with it including attending sporting events and city council meetings, letter writing and much more.
- There are also seasonal activities such as Christmas and Thanksgiving Food campaigns and many more during the year.
- The need for the Food Bank has grown and there must be constant vigilance to ensure that the public is kept informed and keep donating time, resources, and food for those in the community who have less.
- As dictated by the Society constitution, activities also include filling out forms, acting as assistants in the community for those who are physical challenged, engaging in fundraising activities, directing clients to any pre-employment opportunities there may be in the community, and much more.
The Community benefit of the food bank is self-evident. There are many children, elderly and persons with disabilities who cannot afford all the basics of living and having the Food Bank to assist them once a month is truly a blessing. People are not going hungry. The community support is overwhelming.
Perhaps one day Food Banks will no longer be required, but until then their sustainability is critical to the health of the community.