Keeping the doors open at the Enderby Food Bank will rely on the community pulling together.
Individuals, non-profits and civic leaders are trying to determine their next steps after the Vernon-based Salvation Army announced it would no longer provide food or operational support for the food bank.
“We have a lot of stakeholders committed to filling this need but how it will look hasn’t been determined,” said Raquel Knust, a city councillor.
“We’re going into Christmas soon and I’m concerned because 110 hampers are usually given out. We’ll all be scrambling to pull this together.”
About 20 to 40 hampers are distributed to residents every month.
The Salvation Army became involved with the Enderby Food Bank about 20 years ago, and the focus was administrative, such as paying the bills.
Capt. Jean-Curtis Plante says the original role for the Salvation Army has now expanded into most duties, including providing food.
“It’s been costing us significantly every year and they were never in our jurisdiction,” he said, adding that the food bank was informed two years ago that a new model was needed.
“We told them that, ‘We can’t financially cover you because we are going through restructuring ourselves.’ There’s been no responsibility at the community level to operate the food bank financially or provide food.”
Plante says the Salvation Army was contributing $10,000 a year to Enderby, and it’s willing to write off the food bank’s debts and help through the transition until a new organization can be established.
“Other partners in the community are willing to partner so it’s time to let them do it,” he said.
“I feel confident that the partners want to make the Enderby Food Bank sustainable and independent. It’s time for Enderby to take responsibility for Enderby.”
Mayor Greg McCune insists stability is required for the food bank because many people in the community require the service.
“We need to keep something in place and we will because that’s the kind of community we are. We want people to donate locally,” he said.
Dianne Nadeau, the long-time food bank co-ordinator, is confident the agency will continue to be active in the community.
“We will work away at getting all of the details ironed out,” she said.