Vital Vittles

Vital Vittles needs volunteers

Community services organization helps fill empty stomachs

In a world driven by consumerism and high cost of living, some people wonder, what if those whose wallets and stomachs are empty every day?

Community support organizations in Sooke such as Vital Vittles asks this on a regular basis, considering its clientele, between 50 to 60 a week, live on the fringe of society just about every day.

The volunteer program has been operating in Sooke for 13 years out of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, with volunteers giving up their time and food from every corner of the region.

Running the show is Pam Day, who has worked as a coordinator for Vital Vittles for nearly three years. She also volunteers for Meals on Wheels.

Day runs a team of 10 to 12 people who help prepare and serve the meal, and then clean up after.

As rewarding as the job is however, Day is looking for more cooks and more hands on deck.

“I’m really looking out for people to be flexible helpers and if we can one or two cooks in that mix, that would be great,” she said, adding that currently she is doing most of the load of the cooking and the prep work.

Since not everyone can do a 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift, Day said hours can be flexible.

“We’re quite happy to chop it up into sections with regard to what people are able to do and what people are willing to do,” she said.

“I have everything from people who come every week (most do) to those who come occasionally, or who provide food occasionally.”

And what do volunteers get in return?

“We all get the same pay – it’s called job satisfaction,” Day laughed.

Volunteer work isn’t for everyone; hours can be demanding, which is why not all become Vital Vittles members from the get-go, she said.

“You need people with a real desire to serve, and to serve those who have various societal needs,” Day said.

“I don’t hire everyone who comes across my path, because not everybody is suitable in that role, so one really has to carefully assess whether people are willing to do this.”

Day asks people to first come and experience a meal time with the rest of the volunteers, because they get a sense of what it’s about, and it gives them an opportunity to decide whether they can contribute in that way.

Variety of volunteers is good though.

“Volunteers come in all stripes and sizes, and that’s good, because our clients also come from all facets of society too, and it’s interesting to see how they get along and communicate with one another and with our volunteers as well,” Day said.

In August, Vital Vittles takes as break, giving its volunteers a chance to recoup. Meanwhile, they coordinate with the Sooke Baptist Church and Sooke Crisis Centre to pick up the extra volume.

Day said there’s not much fluctuation in clients, except during holiday times, but one thing remains constant.

“Hunger is there all the time. People who live on the fringe have to deal with those situations all the time,” she said.

Anyone considering to offer up their time call Vital Vittles at 250-642-7342.