Volunteers Carol Fogh (left) and Anjy Sohm collect some beets at the Enderby Harvest Sharing Hut.

Volunteers Carol Fogh (left) and Anjy Sohm collect some beets at the Enderby Harvest Sharing Hut.

Enderby harvest hut stretched thin

There's been a significant increase in demand at the volunteer service

A program that provides Enderby residents with healthy food is stretched to the max.

A significant increase in demand means the Enderby Harvest Sharing Hut is finding it difficult to operate within existing premises — a shed in the Maud Street parking lot.

“We are victims of our own success because we need a bigger building,” said Raquel Knust, a city councillor involved in the program.

“We have some great ideas for the future but we need funding to move forward.”

Through the hut, residents who have surplus vegetables and fruit can donate them, while residents wanting to access free produce can drop by once a week between July and October.

During the inaugural year in 2015, 7,449 pounds of food were collected but that jumped to 12,859 pounds in 2016.

In terms of usage, there was an average of 56 adults and 20 kids per week in 2015, but this year, that jumped to 87 adults and 28 children. Many of the adults were seniors.

“The idea is to feed people healthy food and stop wasting food,” said Mary Anne Domarchuk, with the Food Action Committee for Today and Tomorrow.

“It hasn’t been limited to people who are hungry. Anyone can come.”

Beyond handing out food, the seven volunteers bring people together.

“There are conversations, the trading of recipes and hugs. People say hello when they pass each other on the street,” said Domarchuk.

One of the clients was a man living in his car.

“I was appalled to see the conditions he was living in,” said volunteer Shirley Cooper.

“He came a couple of times and then disappeared. I wonder where he is now.”

Planning is underway for 2017, but some challenges exist for the Enderby Harvest Sharing Hut.

Primarily, the small shed means there is little room for storage or volunteers, and there is just one refrigerator with a top freezer. Lineups occur.

“The resources we have are pretty much tapped,” said Domarchuk.