St. Joseph’s Food Bank was the site of the latest Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Members After Hours event.
Members visited the food bank on Dec. 7 and received a tour of the facility as well as spending an afternoon of giving back to the community.
Participants volunteered their time by preparing hampers for those in need.
“We have business people in here just to see what the St. Joseph’s Food Bank is doing. The need has been growing in the last two years, since the onset of Covid. There was $1.3 million (worth of food) going out the door, now it’s about $4.2 million going out the door,” explained food bank manager Sandra Cascaden.
The food bank also services about 10-13 different associations in town – shelters, street missions and Copper Hall to name a few.
With the increase in need, Cascaden said the food bank isn’t big enough.
“Right now our main focus is our need to expand. We need more space. We are doing things two and three times over due to a lack of space.”
She said an addition out back would help.
In 2019 the food back served about 1,300 people a year, that number has increased to 7,000.
About 80 people pick up a $250 hamper of food each distribution day.
Cascaden explained people line up, get their hamper then go out front where volunteers have set up all the dairy and produce.
“It’s like shopping,” she said as people pick the produce they want. In all they come away with about $350 worth of food and supplies.
The St. Joseph Food Bank is open every second Wednesday and Thursday for distribution. The other days volunteers collect more food and restock the shelves and hampers.
“It goes out just as fast as it comes in.”
Cascaden says the food bank is available to anyone who needs it.
In the past people were asked how much they made to establish if they are in the lower income bracket, but that has been done away with.
“If you’re going to line up to come to the food bank, we’re not going to be invasive. Anybody can come to the food bank, anybody who needs it can come.”
Seniors, young families, business people, single parents, all are welcome said Cascaden adding nobody really knows what another person may be going through.
“Right now, we are getting everybody. Covid, the recent flooding, anybody and everybody may need help.”
St Joseph’s Food bank is located at 32550 7th Ave. For information call 778-536-3663 or visit missionfoodbank.com.