Goldstream Food Bank vice-president Walter Dubeau is happy to help others by volunteering at the food bank’s Christmas hamper program. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)

Goldstream Food Bank vice-president Walter Dubeau is happy to help others by volunteering at the food bank’s Christmas hamper program. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)

Goldstream Food Bank Christmas Hamper program in full swing

Gratitude evident as hamper helpers happily give back

The Goldstream Food Bank worker bees buzz around at the best of times, but the hive kicks into overdrive during the demand for Christmas hampers.

Conversations with a couple of clients underline the difference the efforts make for those in need of assistance through the Goldstream Food Bank’s Christmas Hamper Program.

A single mother on the West Shore that registered with the Christmas Hamper Program for the first time last year struggled to find the words to fully express her gratitude.

“I was able to go into the toy room and pick out a gift for my daughter,” said the woman who can’t be identified due to safety concerns. “The hamper program was the only way I was able to make Christmas special for my daughter last year. I was so overwhelmed and grateful I was in tears. I can’t say how much the food bank means to us. Everyone here is absolutely incredible, so friendly, so helpful. I don’t know what we would do without them.”

View Royal resident Terrance Hurl said he relies on the food bank for three-quarters of his food supply.

“I’d be really hurting without these amazing guys,” said Hurl, who lives on a disability pension.

“They even help me out with pet food for my cat, Piglet. I look forward to seeing them every month because they’re such wonderful people. Gayle [Ireland-Goldstream Food Bank president] has gone above and beyond many times to help me out.”

Darrell Colwell, vice-president of operations for the Goldstream Food Bank and Christmas Hamper Program, said the need to adhere to provincial health guidelines during the pandemic and maintain protocols such as social distancing has impacted the way food bank operates.

“We had to come up with a variety of ways to accommodate our clients,” explained Colwell, who has been volunteering for the past 10 years. “We were able to move outside in the nicer weather to keep our staff and clients safe, but winter’s here now. Fortunately, the legion has really stepped up to provide indoor space during the winter months. There’s plenty of space to ensure all of the protocols in place. The clients and staff have been amazing. Everyone is so appreciative of what we do it makes it easy. The numbers go up and down, but there’s always a need in the community.”

READ ALSO: Goldstream Food Bank volunteers use the parking lot to pack hampers by the dozen

About 650 people received Christmas hampers from the Goldstream Food Bank last year.

Vice-president Walter Dubeau has volunteered at the food bank for 12 years. He first got involved with the hamper program about 10 years ago when he launched the annual Turkey Run while serving with CFB Esquimalt’s Fleet Diving Unit.

“Our goal with this year’s Turkey Run is to raise $15,000 so we can provide a turkey on the table for everyone who needs a helping hand,” said Dubeau, who retired five years ago. “The numbers go up and down, but there are always people who need a helping hand. It’s a great feeling to provide for the community, and I’m sure all the volunteers feel the same way.”

Linda Weeden, a volunteer for the past eight years, took a moment between hamper registrations to say she feels fortunate to be able to work with such a great group.

“I love to help people,” she explained. “I’m so lucky, and it’s great to be able to give back. The people who volunteer and the people who come here are all so lovely.”

Darcy Sullivan, who’s been volunteering since March, said he was impressed with how friendly the volunteers and clients are from the start. “It’s an incredible group of people to work with,” he added.

Ireland has a simple explanation for what keeps her involved, and has for 34 years.

“It still amazes me how caring our volunteers are,” Ireland said. “And the gratitude from the people we serve is something really special as well. We want everyone to know if you need help this Christmas, we’re here for you. Give us a call or fill out an application online and we’ll make your Christmas easier and happier.”

Call 250-474-1443 or visit goldstreamfoodbank.org for more information.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read