Whistler Food Bank receives a $10,000 boost 

But Whistler Blackcomb Foundation’s donations limited by Olympics

Just in time for New Year's, the Whistler Food Bank has received an extra $10,000 to purchase vegetables, fruits, powdered milk, grains and other staples.

The money is from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and accounts for about 20 per cent of the program's total budget this year. It is also the largest donation the food bank has ever received.

"This amount is just a huge contribution to enabling our agency to provide for the needy during this time," said Greg McDonnell, executive director of Whistler Community Services Society, which runs the food bank.

"We had the busiest summer on record. It doubled our demand at the food bank as compared to last year, so with the unknowns of the Olympic season before us, as an agency, we were quite concerned about fundraising."

McDonnell stressed the money goes towards buying food staples and not towards human resources.

Mei McCurdy, executive director of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, added the Whistler Food Bank was a clear choice for her organization's donations this year.

"In speaking with Greg, with the whole economic downturn, he said the food bank was in great need," said McCurdy. "It is a tough year for all foundations, and when we look at where our dollars could go the farthest, the food bank was top of the list."

The money is just one of the donations the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation is making to food programs in the Sea to Sky corridor this season.

They are also giving $5,000 to the Squamish Food Bank, $5,000 for breakfast and lunch programs in Pemberton schools, and $2,000 for the breakfast and lunch program in Mount Currie.

"There is a huge difference with kids and their learning ability with the breakfast and lunch programs," said McCurdy.

Meanwhile, McCurdy said the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation will see a severe financial cut this year as a result of the Olympics.

The foundation typically raises half of its funds during the annual Telus Winter Classic weekend in January, but 2010's event has been cancelled because of "Olympic supplier and sponsor logistics."

That means the foundation will have 200,000 fewer dollars to work with this year for registered non-profit organizations in the Sea to Sky corridor.

"It is definitely going to be a tight year for us," said McCurdy of the cut.

She added that Whistler Blackcomb Foundation's other major fundraising event, the Telus Golf Classic tournament held in the autumn, will provide most of the funds for the foundation this year. The golf event raised $257,000 in 2009.




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