food bank 

By Amy Fendley The demand for food is up and the Whistler Community Services Society’s food bank shelves are bare. Prior to this past Thanksgiving weekend, the food bank was low on food. It is now desperate for non-perishables. The local economy, combined with the fact that family numbers seem to be increasing, may be responsible for the shortage, but food bank co-ordinator Mary Caverly said she felt helpless when she was approached by people looking for turkeys or somewhere to have an inexpensive Thanksgiving dinner and had nothing to offer. "We got more people than we expected," said Caverly. "After Christmas I usually have to get extra storage space for all the food we receive, and I really expected things to be done for Thanksgiving. I had five families to feed, and I was only expecting three." Caverly said that she had to resort to taking apart prepared boxes of food to stretch all that the food bank had to give. "I know there are more families that need it and it’s hard times in Whistler," said Caverly. "But the food bank needs help with donations. It’s embarrassing when you can’t give food to these people. And it’s not just seasonals, but the whole spectrum of the community that needs help." The fall is part of the Whistler paradox: businesses are closing down but it’s also the season when seasonal workers flock to Whistler to find housing and then wait for their winter jobs to start. "A lot of these kids come from good families, but they come here with about $200 in their pocket once they’ve paid their first and last month’s rent," said Caverly. "We’ve got families that have maybe just had a baby and only one parent is working... you can’t put the onus on anyone, but I thought at least one local restaurant would have offered a $5.95 dinner." Both Nesters and IGA have food drop boxes. There are certain non-perishable items that are in demand, such as peanut butter, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, canned fruit, kidney beans, pork and beans, sugar, baby formula, juice, drink boxes, and powdered milk. The Whistler Community Services Society’s food bank operates from a trailer behind Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, at the bottom of Lorimer Road. Food distribution times are Wednesdays between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. and every second Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon. The WCSS also operates a Community Kitchen, where people can get together to cook low cost, nutritious food, divide it up and take it home. Call WCSS at 932-0113.

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