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Rotarians pitch in to help

Sooke Food Bank president Ingrid Johnston stands in the newly renovated area of the food bank premises. New refrigerators and improvements were possible with the funding from the District of Sooke and the Rotary Club of Sooke.  - Pirjjo Raits
Sooke Food Bank president Ingrid Johnston stands in the newly renovated area of the food bank premises. New refrigerators and improvements were possible with the funding from the District of Sooke and the Rotary Club of Sooke.
— image credit: Pirjjo Raits

The Sooke Rotary Club is best known for their auction and spring fair held in May of each year, but did you know they also have a number of other hands-on projects in Sooke?

The Rotarians have helped with upgrades to Camp Barnard, funded a SEAPARC Community Youth Bus, were a lead partner in the Rotary Pier, funded playgrounds and shelters, built stairs, signs and skate parks, bought curtains for the EMCS theatre and provided mattresses for Sooke Hospice. And to top all of that off, they also provide financial assistance to local families in need. That’s just a partial list of the projects this group of community service oriented people take on.

Just recently the Sooke Rotary made some welcome and much-needed improvements to the space used by the Sooke Food Bank. Their space is in the basement of the Sooke Community Hall and it was sadly in need of some upgrades.

The volunteer group got together and painted, landscaped and renovated the kitchen at the food bank. The space is now a lot brighter and more welcoming.

“This was a hands-on project for the community,” said Rotary president Trevor Colley.

And the improvements were not lost on Ingrid Johnson, president of the Sooke Food Bank.

“Finally,” she said when speaking of the new commercial fridges in the improved kitchen.

Along with the kitchen renovations came a little more space where the office was as well as a reception area where people can wait inside out of the cold and rain. A new ramp makes it easier for volunteers to transport food.

The Sooke Food Bank helps 450 families in the area stretching out from Sooke to Port Renfrew. Johnston said they helped 6,070 clients in 2013 and that there are more people coming forward for assistance every month.

That’s a lot of people and a lot of food, and the need is almost as great in the summer as it is in the winter. People are very, very generous around the holiday season but many forget the need is still there in the summer.

She said the biggest need is always, of course, non-perishable food donations, but also money. With the cash they can buy what they need wholesale.

What they do need though on a weekly basis is protein, either in the form of beans or tuna. Donations can be dropped off at the Sooke News Mirror office at 6631 Sooke Road or at any of the grocery  stores in Sooke.

The Sooke Rotary welcomes new members. They hold weekly lunch meetings at the Village Food Market’s board room at 12:15 each Wednesday. For more information go to: www.sookerotary.com or call 250-642-1108.

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