By Melissa Fryer
Nanaimo News Bulletin
Every week, someone new will shuffle through the door, eyes downcast, with shoulders hunched in embarrassment.
“They can’t believe it’s come to this,” said Peter Sinclair, executive director of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank.
One of the eight locations for food pickup in the community will see new clients – people who are recently unemployed, laid off or facing an unexpected health issue.
But Sinclair hopes with changes to food bank distribution, administration and client services that one day he won’t have a job to go to at the food bank.
“We shouldn’t be here,” Sinclair said. “We’re here because there’s a problem in the community.”
About six months ago, the board, which oversees operation of the non-profit society, began implementing its strategic plan. Looking at the big picture is often a challenge while meeting the day-to-day needs of clients, Sinclair said.
“We want to keep our eye on where we want to be two to three years from now,” Sinclair said. “The most tangible one is the community garden out back.”
The food bank secured a grant to hire a summer student, Jesse Alexander, to build garden boxes at the rear of the Farquhar location.
“We showed him a big, concrete space and said, ‘transform it’,” Sinclair said.
“In three weeks, there’s plants.”
Alexander, a geography student at Vancouver Island University with a construction background, secured donations of lumber, soil and plants for the project.
“The community’s been pretty helpful,” he said.