The food bank in Ste. Anne has completed its second year of operation in good standing and is now in a larger facility.
Board chair Aurele Boisvert says expanding their previous location would have been costly, but the old Ste. Anne Co-op building became available at an extremely reasonable price. He says he takes nothing for granted and notes the food bank relies 100% on the generosity of the community and other food banks.
"I think we've come a long ways," he says. "Of course, when you have a food bank you hope your numbers are not going to increase too much, but we are realizing there is a great need. Our numbers have increased by 64% from last year and we have no indication telling us it's not going to continue. The community has been very, very generous and we have great volunteers so we're still hopeful that we will be able to answer the needs of the clients showing up every second Wednesday."
Boisvert says they haven't been without their struggles, as they have been through two managers in two years, but he adds they will look at dividing some of the responsibilities with more volunteers.
He notes the food bank is completely run by volunteer efforts, a plan design to ensure all donations go to helping others.
"From the beginning, we always said the immediate need is always food, so we will become a food bank. We also want to address the education and prevention of hunger so we've established community gardens, we've offered cooking lessons to people, and whatever else that might come up."
Boisvert says, fortunately, they are currently doing well financially due to the volunteer efforts, low expenses, and generous donations. He notes he hopes the community continues to support them as they are a vulnerable organization and want to continue to provide a service to those who benefit from the extra help.
Reeve Art Bergman says it took the organization a little while to figure out how to meet the need in the community, but they have been looking after people and it's great to be a part of the food bank.
"They asked us for a little bit of help at the outset to get started and we've kept them on our books as one of the organizations we support."
Bergman adds everyone who helps in the food bank are volunteers and says the spirit shown by the volunteers is what he feels gets things done.
Mayor Richard Pelletier says, "it's beautiful to see that we have so many volunteers and people that have a heart for people in need. Knowing the town of Ste. Anne is continuing to grow, there will be more people in need and we have such a great group of people there to help those people [in need]."