LETTER: Donors support local food bank

One never knows who is going to come down our stairs next, but many who do are bearing donations of goods and money.

Dear Editor:

As president of the Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre I try, once in a while, to take a shift at the help desk because it helps me to better understand the needs in our community.

One never knows who is going to come down our stairs next, but many who do are bearing donations of goods and money to help us with our work.

This Christmas season, two donors told me their significant donations were in appreciation of help they had received from the Food Bank more than 20 years ago, as they and their families struggled to settle in Summerland.

The investments made many years ago by the food bank volunteers of that period have been paid back to our community many times by those former clients. Our volunteers see that same potential in the people we serve today, and I hope that in future years, many of those people will look back just as fondly on our efforts.

There are many reasons why people do not have enough resources to feed, clothe and house themselves and their family members.

It is easy to assume that poverty is the fault of the people who experience it, but for those of us who deal with the challenges faced by the people we serve, we have nothing but empathy, understanding and sympathy.

Our board members and volunteers cannot spend more than a few shifts on the help desk without coming close to tears over the plight of many people who come to us for help.

I think next of the generosity in our community from those who understand the challenges faced by one in 20 of its residents.

So many individual donors and businesses give a share of their income to help us help those in need. In 2013 we made contact with the first Penticton-based agency that was prepared to send its counsellors to Summerland to meet with our clients locally.

Today we list 16 agencies that have joined us in similar partnerships and, in the past year, have arranged 271 local counselling sessions with Summerland residents.

This year we will be pursuing a low-cost housing project. We hope such a project will involve partnerships but if those prove impossible to achieve then we will do our best to go it alone in trust that this amazing community will be covering our backs.

John Bubb