We operate a food bank which serves the population of the Regional District of Mount Waddington (approximately the northern third of Vancouver Island and a portion of the mainland opposite). Our all-volunteer staff work to ensure an equitable distribution of food to persons in need within the district.
Fresh produce, eggs, and dairy are purchased weekly, while canned and dry foods are ordered as needed. Within the constraints of our budget, we attempt to distribute a balanced mix of healthy foods to encourage good nutrition. To that end we operate the following four programs:
This program assists households to overcome short-term challenging circumstances. Our goal is to provide about 3 days of food for each household. Normally a household can access this program once a month, with at least 4 weeks between food box pick-up dates. Food box contents vary based on the size of the household, the age(s) of the recipients, food allergies and dietary restrictions, and what we have available to distribute at the time. We cannot guarantee specific items will be included.
We try to keep barriers to access as low as possible. Our only requirement is that original ID must be provided for all members of your household. Acceptable forms of ID incorporate at least full name and date of birth. Photo ID is not required. Social Insurance cards and bank cards are not accepted.
Access schedules for this program vary by location:
- Alert Bay - On the second Wednesday of each month food boxes are delivered by Harmony Freight Lines to the Sunshine Room (behind the gas station) and are normally available for pick-up at about 3:30 pm. Namgis Community Services (250-974-5356) handles distribution from that point; let them know in advance if you will be unable to make it or your food box may be given to someone else. Don't forget to thank Harmony Freight Lines as their generous donation saves you the time and expense of a ferry ride.
- Port Alice - On the third Friday of each month food boxes are delivered to Port Alice residents by a volunteer.
- Port Hardy - Food boxes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at our location between noon and 1:00 pm every Friday (except the last Friday of each month and holidays). Original ID must be presented for each member of the household for every pick-up.
- Port McNeill - On the second Wednesday of each month food boxes are distributed from our truck at the Island Foods parking lot at 8:30 am. Local volunteers deliver food boxes to those who are unable to pick-up on their own (prior arrangement required). Please thank Island Foods for donating bread and milk in your food box.
- Sointula - On the second Wednesday of each month food boxes are delivered by Harmony Freight Lines to Sointula. Pick up your food box from Harmony Freight Lines at the gas station by the ferry terminal at about 4:30 pm. Please thank Harmony Freight Lines as their generous donation saves you the time and expense of a ferry ride.
- Woss - On the second Wednesday of each month a volunteer picks up food boxes for Woss residents and delivers them.
- Other Locations - Emergency food boxes and food boxes for residents in other areas are handled on a case-by-case basis, frequently in cooperation with social services agencies. Please contact us for further information.
Residents of Alert Bay, Port McNeill, Sointula, and Woss must sign up before 4:00 pm the first Wednesday of each month in order to receive a food box that month. If you miss the sign-up deadline or if this schedule isn't workable, a food box for your household can be picked up from our Port Hardy location on any Friday (except the last Friday of each month and holidays) between noon and 1:00 pm. Bring original ID for everyone in the household. Further details are in our printable delivery schedule.
Bread Bin Program
Bread and other food items are available for self-service pick-up in our distribution area on Fridays during food box distribution. Everyone may access this program, whether or not they are picking up a food box.
School Meal Program
Area schools receive food from the food bank in support of their meal programs. These programs help to provide thousands of snacks and meals to school children each month.
We partner with various social services agencies and other social organizations to provide food for a variety of programs. These range from a men's group breakfast to a cooking skills training group to the local soup kitchen.
Our community food bank would not exist without generous donations from many sources. The local grocery stores are tremendous in their ongoing support, especially MarketPlace IGA and Island Foods in Port McNeill, and Save on Foods in Port Hardy. Without their generous and ongoing donations we would have to reduce or end many of our programs.
We occasionally receive food donations from Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank in Nanaimo and Campbell River Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of the grocery stores in their cities they sometimes receive more food than they can distribute locally; we have been fortunate to receive some of that excess.
Many community-minded businesses and individuals donate food throughout the year. Food drives such as the Cram the Cruiser event run annually by the Port McNeill RCMP are a significant source of food.
In addition to food donations, we are fortunate to receive financial support from numerous individuals and organizations. Our operations are also financially supported by the BC government through a gaming grant. Financial donations can be mailed or dropped off at our retail store and are eligible for a tax receipt.
Food donations can be dropped off at our Port Hardy location during the retail store hours. There is also a donation bin located at the front of the store at MarketPlace IGA in Port McNeill, and beside the mall entrance at Save on Foods in Port Hardy.
While we happily accept donations of most kinds of food, the following items tend to be in chronic short supply and are especially appreciated:
- baking supplies, including sugar
- canned and dried beans
- canned fruits and vegetables
- canned meats and fish
- canned soups and stews
- condiments and sauces
- coffee and other hot drinks
- dried and noodle soups
- fruit juice
- jam and peanut butter
- pasta and pasta sauce
Fresh produce is welcome as it is integral to a nutritious diet. If your garden produced too many zucchinis or your apple harvest is overwhelming, we'd be happy to distribute the excess for you.