Parksville food bank gets big thumbs up

French Creek facility continues to fill a gaping void in the community

The Salvation Army Food Bank in French Creek does get a couple of complaints a year, but people are generally happy with the service, says Major Rolf Guenther.

Responding to an anonymous complaint to The News, he added that while he was aware of the complaint, he didn’t talk to the person who said they went there but were turned away.

“Ours is the most lenient food bank I know of,” he said explaining people need basic identification when they first sign up.

There are no restrictions or requirements. “We don’t deny anyone.”

They do work on an appointment system though, people have to call ahead to arrange a time on Tuesday or Thursday when they can go in and select a weeks worth of food, rather than just getting a set box.

Guenther said this is one of the ways they feel they work hard to “preserve the dignity of people,” by giving them a choice, like shopping rather than just a handout.

That system costs them an extra $3,500 a month, having to buy specific items to supplement the donated items.

They currently help about 400 families a month, totaling 700 people, including about 350 children. That jumps to over 700 families at Christmas.

An individual or family can go once a month and get anywhere from $80 to $240 value in food, depending on family size and items selected and there are other options to help, including the soup kitchen meals in Parksville every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

People can also stop at the food bank whenever they’re open to grab up to three items a day and Guenther added that they have broken the rules in the past if someone has an emergency and the Society of Organized Services gives out emergency food vouchers.

 

“We want people to feel comfortable, respected and dignified when they come in,” he said. “The majority of people are very thankful.”