We’re so happy that the Food Bank has been growing. Last year we gave out 155% more food bags than in 2016, and if our growth keeps up at the rate we’ve seen this year, we’re projected to give out almost 70% more! Of course, as we serve more people, we need more money to buy more food. We still need about $1400, of the about $3200 we are projected to need for the year. We are asking the community to pitch in just $500 of that. Donations big and small all help. Our food bags cost just 3$, so having an impact is easy:
Donate 6$, feed 2 people
Donate 12$, feed 4 people
Donate 24$, feed 8 people
Donate 56$, feed 16 people
Why donate to the St John’s Food Bank?
- Compassion and dignity – no questions asked, customized food support:
We want people to eat, so we make it as easy as possible. Everyone who comes through the door gets a bag of food of their choice (between 4 options). We don’t treat food bank visitors like cheats by making them prove themselves to us with various documentation. Anyone can need food support sometimes. We don’t treat people like they should just be happy for what ever crumbs they get, with no regard for what food they actually can and will eat. Thanks to our options, people with various food restrictions can use our food bank (ex: Muslims/Jews, Hindus, vegetarians/vegans, etc). And to further improve their choices, this summer we have expanded our urban food gardens with the aim of having fresh produce available for the first time. We are also introducing basic cooking workshops to make sure people know how to cook everything in our bags, and other cheap, filling foods (mainly grains, which many find very intimidating).
- The community café model - So much more than a food bank:
We are not just fighting hunger, we are also fighting the social isolation of poverty. When people come to the food bank, they are invited to sit down and offered a coffee. We create a welcoming, non-judgemental environment where people love coming to chat and meet new people. We often have newcomers who are ashamed to be at a food bank. They are scared and embarrassed to be a ‘loser’ who needs food support. But after they sit down and chat with all the interesting people from different backgrounds who visit the food bank, their ideas of who uses food banks (and thus themselves) is transformed. They can’t wait to come back and be with people who understand what they are going through. Discussions range from current events, to trading advice about getting services or applying for jobs, or just how their week has been. Most visitors are here without families, older, or chronically ill. For some, this is their main chance to socialize and meet new people. For them St John’s Food Bank is a community hub, a second home.
- Food people want to eat – the advantage of buying our own food:
Our costs could be much lower if we got donations of unsold food from grocery stores. Why don’t we? Because we would have no control over what food is in the bag. Food bags like that are very hit and miss: sometimes they have filling food, sometimes they have smacks or items that need to be paired with other ingredient in an elaborate recipe to become a filling meal (uch as crackers, salad dressing, seasonings, etc). We would also not be able to guarantee that we could offer any choices to visitors. We know from speaking with our visitors, that not everything in those bags are eaten. But people eat everything in our bags because the contents make a complete, tasty, easy to cook meal. This is one reason why visitors like our Food Bank: they know they will get a full meal that they will actually eat (and enjoy!). That’s why we buy our food from the grocery store, just like you do.
On behalf of our less fortunate neighbours: thank you so much for your support,
Co-ordinator, St John’s Food Bank