Food bank shelves almost empty

An urgent plea is being issued as Vernon’s food bank struggles to help those in need.

Residents are being urged to donate money and food as the Salvation Army’s current resources are limited.

“The shelves are very bare. We are out of some basics,” said Stefan Reid, executive director.

Among the items required are spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables including tomatoes, pasta of all varieties, canned fruit, rice, rolled oats and noodles, as well as toilet paper.

Donations of fresh fruit and vegetables are also being sought.

“A lot of farmers bring in produce and people donate from their own gardens,” said Reid.

“Our clients are getting the nutrition that is so important.”

Supplies are generally low at this time of the year, but Reid admits the current situation makes it difficult for staff and volunteers to put together hampers for clients.

Adding to the challenge is the steady demand being placed on the Salvation Army.

About 25 households a day are seeking assistance from the agency.

“Our caseworkers are booking appointments two weeks in advance,” said Reid, adding that he isn’t sure why so many people need help.

“There may be more low-income families who came here because of wildfires and have stayed.”

He admits, though, that the high cost of rent and utilities is putting a financial crunch on many families, especially those dependent on minimum wage salaries.

“We’re happy we’re in a position to help but we look to the community, and especially those who can help others.”

For more information or to donate, call 250-549-4111 or drop by the Salvation Army at 3303 32nd Ave.