FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Salvation Army has been working hard to expand its Perishable Food Program and with their new walk-in Fridge and Freezer units now running, there is room for greater growth and development.
The commercial style fridge and freezer units stand behind the shelves of the food processing area of the Food Bank as volunteers push trolleys and fill them with items from checklists.
Trying to keep out of the way in the fast paced environment and looking into the new fridge, Cameron Eggie, Executive Director of the Salvation Army Northern Centre of Hope shared, “we are just finishing building the shelving.”
The units will not only be able to hold more food, but they will also help create space as the Food Bank has been using 11 residential refrigerator/freezers to house the perishables. With the new shelving in the commercial units, it will be much easier to organize and maintain the food donations received until clients of the food bank can pick up their food.
‘Under 500 people use the Food Bank every month,” said Eggie, he goes on to explain that the Food Bank only employs one person for 20 hours a week and the rest of the help they get is through volunteers. Eggie expresses that they currently have 20 volunteers and are yet to be able to keep up with capacity and filling the need, ideally, the Salvation Army needs 40 volunteers.
Every morning a volunteer goes around to five stores to collect non-perishables which is about 6/700lbs of food daily. The Salvation Army will soon be taking possession of a new refrigerated van that will make picking up perishable food donations easier and more efficient.
Eggie is also converting an old kitchen area to a stainless steel washing station for food handling equipment to increase capacity, which will process donations quicker and provide healthier food options for families to have access too.
Once the new washing station is complete, the Salvation Army will work in collaboration with NEAT to do community canning and creating soup stock.
If you would be interested in volunteering in the Food Bank, contact the Salvation Army at; 250.785.0506, email; [email protected]; or visit the food bank in person