Community Outreach and Development
Program Goals: To meet the immediate and emergency food needs of people in our Community while working towards long term solutions to hunger and poverty.
Client Eligibility: New clients requesting food bank assistance are asked to complete an application and provide the following information:
• Proof of residency –must be resident of Revelstoke for a minimum of 3 months, rent receipts, hydro or cable bill
•Proof of family and dependents – Recipient must provide BC Health Care Cards for each person in the household
• Identification – picture ID, for each adult, such as a driver’s license, BC Identification, passport or status card
• Proof of income – Upon request, recent salary or EI stub or slip, print out from your bank
The Food Bank program provides:
• Weekly distribution of food – following a client choice model
• Kids Snack Program
• Christmas Hampers during the month of December
• Personal hygiene items and vitamins
• Referrals to other services as required
• Nutrition and skill building workshops
• When available: donated clothing, household items, furniture, blankets and bus tickets
• Annual on-site diabetes testing and flu shots
• Community Volunteer Tax Program
The Food Bank is open every Friday between 8:30 am and 11:00 am and is located downstairs at the Legion, 600 First Street West (entrance from Garden Avenue)
Currently we have fifteen to twenty dedicated people who spend more than 400 hours each month sorting and repackaging food, preparing food hampers, assisting with distribution and helping at special events. We could not do what we do at the Food Bank without our amazing volunteers; many whom have given freely of their time for more than sixteen years. Their commitment is immeasurable and invaluable!
For more information, to donate or volunteer, contact Program Director, Patti Larson:
• Phone: 250-837-2920 ext. 28
• Email: email@example.com
• In Person: At the Food Bank during the times listed above, or during regular office hours at Community Connections office located at 314 Second Street East.
The food bank gratefully accepts all donations.
As a single disabled mother of a child in elementary school, it has always been difficult to manage the small amount of food money we have left after paying rent and bills. With the cost of living in today’s world we live far under the poverty level of even the average norm of what poverty is for a single family in BC. About half actually! Every month is a huge financial struggle for us just to meet our basic needs.
The Food Bank’s subsidy of healthy food provides us staples for the month when receiving our stocked hamper. We also receive health conscious lunch snacks, veggies, fruits, milk, bread and canned items on a weekly basis. Without this generosity from the community my child and I would be severely malnourished and hungry daily.
Daily life is a personal struggle, trying to balance a lack of funds in an expensive world. The Food Bank program and its workers and volunteers step up past the “plate” when it comes to helping families move forward to a more positive future. Food in the bellies of children and the hungry … is definitely food for thought.”
Community Connections Food Bank is a member of Food Banks BC, Food Banks Canada and Good Food Organizations.
Kids Snack Program
At the Food Bank, we believe the best way to ensure proper nutrition for our children’s health, development and growth is through the direct delivery of service. Simply put, we try to provide healthy, nourishing food for them to eat. The Kids Snack Program significantly increases the nutritional value, quantity and variety of food that we are able to provide to children living in poverty.
Families are provided with a bag of nutritious snacks to last for five school days, including 100% fruit juice, healthy granola bars, natural fruit leather bars, unsweetened applesauce cups and yogurt tubes. This was based on the “choose most and/or choose sometimes” according to School District guidelines and in consultation with Interior Health. We also endeavour to provide vitamins throughout the year to children during the peak cold and flu seasons.
Food Connect: a small town food recovery program with a big impact!
Food Connect aims to use surplus food to feed our vulnerable citizens and reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in the landfill.
Food Recovery is an initiative to redirect food from ending up in the landfill and supplying safe, fresh food to our community members instead. It addresses the environmental, social, and economic issues of food waste by taking food that is not fit for sale by producers, processors, and retailers and finds the best use for that food- feeding people, animals, or compost!
Our food recovery program partners with restaurants, food retailers, lodges, and local farmers to rescue food from being thrown away. Surplus foods (close to or at its best before date, overstocked, mislabeled, cosmetically unappealing, etc.) are assessed by our team for quality. Edible foods are directed through our programs and our community agencies who provide meals and food for community members, while inedible foods are composted or fed to animals. This program exists to decrease hunger and food waste via an efficient, safe, convenient food distribution system. We strive to be a zero waste program through repurposing and recycling to do our part to reduce our community’s environmental impact.
Benefits of Food Connect
By keeping food out of the landfill, we are reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from decomposing food in landfills. In addition to food waste, we recycle as much food packaging as we can so we are reducing our carbon footprint. All the food deemed unfit for humans is donated to local farmers for animal feed or compost.
Program recipients can redirect money that would have been spent on groceries to other needs to enrich their families’ quality of life. Retailers can save money by decreasing disposal costs caused by keeping food out of the garbage.
Many citizens in our community are in need of food support- food security is on the rise. By capturing the large amount of food being tossed out due to cosmetic and freshness reasons, we can redirect those foods to help nourish our vulnerable citizens including families and seniors.
Food Recovery Program Accomplishments
1. Decrease food waste in the community.
- We have kept over 190,000 pounds of food out of the landfill including food packaging.
- Education is provided to program recipients about food waste in order to reduce their own household food waste.
- We work with numerous local farmers to provide inedible food to be used as animal feed and/ or compost to assist with agricultural means in our community. So far, we have donated over 40, 000 lbs of food to farmers.
2. Increase the nutritional value of food bank-distributed food.
- Increased fresh perishable food varieties for food bank clients each week.
- Support a balanced selection of food including: fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, and grains.
3. Provide alternative schemes for food collection and distribution in addition to the food bank.
- Families, seniors, clients and agencies receive food through Food Connect.
- Food is publicly distributed to families, seniors and agencies once per week.
- Food is provided to families accessing Community Connections programs four times per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).
- Deliveries are provided to our community partners including the School District #19’s breakfast/ lunch programs, Revelstoke Childcare Society, and over ten other agencies.
4. Provide employment/ volunteer experience through program operations.
- Food Connect has two employees to maintain the program.
- Partnership with the Supported Employment Program has led to the employment of one person with disabilities. This employee performs the pickups and handles daily tasks of the program.
- There are over 10 volunteers who help with this program weekly. Volunteers gain experience with Food Safe procedures which has been an asset with building job skills for many.
5. Decrease food costs for Community Connections’ programs and other community agencies.
- Many of our programs and residential homes receive food on a regular basis, decreasing their food budgets.
- We serve over 15 agencies to help with their food resources.
FAQ’s on Food Connect:
Why is throwing food in the garbage so terrible?
Food and organic materials that decomposes in a landfill produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. So the more food that is being tossed in the landfill means the more methane that is being produced which is affecting climate change.
In a 2013 waste survey study of Revelstoke, it was calculated that 32% of curbside garbage is organic materials including food. It was also found that 40 % of food produced each year in Canada ends up in the garbage.
Not only is throwing food out bad for our environment, but its bad for the bank account too! Disposal fees and “shrinking out” food (removing it from their systems) have to be paid for by food retailers, so grocery prices reflect these coverages. If food is being donated instead of being wasted, those disposal fees can be reduced and may help to decrease food prices. Plus the food retailer is eligible for a tax credit when supplying food donations to a charitable organization like us!
Was the recovered foods from the dumpster??
No! We partner with our food donors to store food that they can no longer sell for us to pick up before it is tossed in the garbage. Food is safely stored and has not been inside a garbage bin.
Is recovered food safe to eat?
Yes, as most food is thrown out based on Best Before dates, wrong packaging information,or cosmetic appeal- not because it is unfit for human consumption. Best Before dates are NOT expiration dates, they are retail freshness guidelines. Most foods follow a Best Before date guidelines, which is not a guarantee of the product’s quality or safety (ie. food can spoil before this date). Expiration dates exist only on baby formula and other human milk substitutes, nutritional supplements, meal replacements, pharmacist-sold foods for very low-energy diets and formulated liquid diets.Donated food is assessed by our Food Connect Team as “safe for human consumption” or not. If it is deemed inedible, then it is given to farmers for compost additives or animal feed. By finding purposes for all food received, we can eliminate food from ending up in the landfill.
Am I liable for giving food away?
No- Donors are protected by the provincial Food Donor Encouragement Act, which states that someone who donates food isn’t liable for injuries or death as long as the food is fit for human consumption and has not been tampered with.
I have food that is unfit for human consumption, what can I do?
Community Connections will take it! Food deemed not suitable for human consumption can be used for animal feed or composted to create nutrient rich soil. Community Connections partners with local farmers to donate these food products.
Can we donate the leftovers from our staff party?
That’s a generous offer, but it depends. Community Connections adheres to strict compliance with Food Safe regulations provided by our regional health authority. Food that is donated must meet the following requirements:
- Food has only been prepared and handled by cooks with Food Safe training.
- Food must have been prepared in a commercial-grade, approved kitchen.
- Food has not been presented to the public, such as at a buffet where guests can serve themselves.
- Food has been properly stored (i.e. proper temperatures, containers, time)
How can you help?
Everyone can do their part to eliminate food waste. In fact, over 40% of food waste occurs in the household. Educate yourself and those around you on food waste reduction skills, best before dates vs. expiration dates, meal plans, composting, food storage, and efficiency grocery shopping.
We are seeking out committed long-term volunteers to help with this program. If you are interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to our amazing partners!
Be the change you want to see in the world!!
Articles and Other Resources
In 2014, the City of Revelstoke commissioned a Food Security Strategy to quantify our current level of food security and to make recommendations on actions that can increase our community’s food security.
The report was directed by a steering committee of local stakeholders. Within the development of the strategy the group was able to create a vision and goals for Revelstoke’s food security.
Revelstoke’s Food Security Vision:
Revelstoke will have a secure food system rooted in the community and centered on good food – food that is HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE AND AFFORDABLE. Revelstoke will have a culture that supports local food production where possible and recognizes the importance of food in bringing people together through growing, cooking and eating.
Revelstoke’s Five Food Security Goals:
Economic Sustainability: Support economic development opportunities related to local food production such as food production business, cooperatives, or partnerships through policy, education and networking.
The Food Security Strategy generated a list of recommended actions for increasing our community’s food security. One of the very high priorities was to create the position of Food Security Coordinator who would be tasked with implementing the remainder of the recommendations.
Community Connections hired a Food Security Coordinator and, in partnership with the City of Revelstoke, was able to secure funding from Interior Health to support this work. Some of the highlights of the work completed so far can be found below. For more information contact our Food Security Coordinator, Melissa Hemphill at email@example.com, 250-837-2920 x31.
- A what? A locavore? – by Cynthia Routhier
- Paying a fair share for food – by Jackie Morris
- Diving into food waste in Revelstoke – by Jenna Fraser
- Getting to the meat of eating local – by Goldie Rich
- Getting to the meat of reducing food waste – by Goldie Rich
- Revelstoke Local Food Initiative
- BC Food System Network
- Food Secure Canada
- Interior Health
- Farm Folk City Folk
- BC Farmers Market
- BC Food Security Gateway
- Good Food Organizations
- Kootenay Food
- Young Agrarians
- Farm Food Fork
- Food Skills for Families
- Fresh Choice Kitchens
- Preserve Produce
- Health Eating at School
- Healthy Schools BC
- Better Together BC
- Nutrition Link
- Protein Project
Social Advocacy ensures that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services and opportunities they require to meet their basic needs and to develop fully. The Advocate serves as a point of contact for citizen concerns with local, federal and provincial social issues. This is accomplished through individual consultation and referral and community education activities that enhance public knowledge of governmental and community processes and activities.
Common Social Concerns:
• Housing, including Landlord/Tenant issues
• Human Rights
• Employment Standards
• Family Issues including Custody and Maintenance
• Poverty, and Financial Assistance
• Gender Equity
In addition, the Advocate provides consultation and education to groups and organizations, and facilitates citizen participation on social justice issues in this community. The advocate also engages in community social planning activities that facilitate collaboration between, and development of, programs that address social issues. The Advocate does not provide legal services, but can make referrals to appropriate legal professionals.
To speak with the Social Justice Advocate, drop-in to the Community Connections office at 314 Second Street East, Monday – Thursday between 1:00-4:00pm.
No appointment is necessary and clients will be seen on a first come, first serve basis. The Social Justice Advocate does not provide after hours emergency services.
For further information, contact Cathy Girling, the Social Justice Advocate at (250) 837-2920 ext. 38 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Housing Outreach Program assists persons who are homeless, or at extreme risk of becoming homeless, to access housing in Revelstoke. The Housing Outreach Worker can help overcome barriers to suitable, affordable housing in a variety of ways including:
• Assistance applying for Income Assistance (Welfare);
• Referrals to other community resources; and
• On-going support for our housed clients (and the landlords who house them).
To speak with the Housing Outreach Worker, drop-in to the Community Connections office at 314 Second Street East, Monday – Thursday between 1:00-4:00pm.
No appointment is necessary and clients will be seen on a first come, first serve basis. The Housing Outreach Program does not provide after hours emergency services.
For further information, contact Cathy Girling, the Housing Outreach Worker at (250) 837-2920 ext. 38 or by email at email@example.com
*Funding provided by BC Housing.