Gary McLaughlin, Patti Larson and Krista Carnegie with the 11,795lbs collected this year
Article and photos by Tennille Barber
This town never fails to amaze me. This event is amazing in two different ways. The amount that people give when their doors are knocked on, and the way that everyone comes together to make it happen. It starts with labelling boxes, continues with the steady flow of groups in town showing up to help, graduates into a frenzy of trucks and emergency vehicles pulling in with people and food, and closes with enough food to tide over the hungry in Revelstoke until well after Christmas. Do not kid yourselves. This IS amazing.
It all started with Gary McLaughlin and the auxiliary from Revelstoke RCMP detachment. Krista Carnegie carried it on blowing it up to greater than life size, and Patti Larson has been there all along. If you haven’t volunteered just to meet all the amazing people working to sort food, to collect food along with your team, or for a chance to knock on doors of your friends randomly to see what they’re up to and to grab their strange cans, meeting any or all of these three will make your 3 hours of volunteer work worth it anyways. Each one is genuine, cares about your safety, and knows the power of the community lies in you, then gives you an opportunity to use it.
I have done both jobs there are with this project, sorting and packing, as well as going door to door. There are a couple great things about each job. Leaving the area with an emergency services escort usually means sirens from a fire truck, ambulance, or police car along with their extraordinary people in uniform, usually with their kids on the megaphone. Last year our roller derby team did it on skates, of course then we weren’t as practiced as we are now. This year both nights they showed up first, quad skates are fast. I think Krista may have picked us the smoothest and newest paved roads just to make it a little easier on our knees. Last year I definitely did some laps in someone’s huge brand new paved driveway in Arrow Heights. One thing about going door to door sometimes is it allows you to run into that person you’ve been meaning to say hi to. You don’t do it often, and the event takes place at 5:30 when everyone is at home relaxing after work, maybe cooking dinner. They open the door and the smell of a home comes out, kids are usually playing in the background. You get to know someone in a minute or two you hadn’t before through the simple sound and smell of a house, and the things they give from their cupboard.
Sorting and packing is the other job. The night starts with labelling boxes, the funniest label this year being “Other beans”. This is different than “Beans and Pork”. You get to listen to Patti talk about the value of the food bank, Krista talk about how your time contributed matters, and Gary stress safety, then everyone groups together and leaves. You have Tim Horton’s coffee and Timbits for 30 minutes. Everyone starts pouring in with their trucks full of food. Things kick into high gear, the food is unloaded onto a table where the sorters take it and distribute it into the boxes. At this time you have a good look at all the cans, pasta packages, rice, cakes mixes, toiletries, and other things that Revelstoke has generously given from their home. The most excited I saw Patti last night was when she found a 24 pack of toilet paper. The second best moment was when Ben from Parks Canada found a can named Manwich, a sloppy joes mixture. Third best was definitely when I found out you could get spiced octopus in a sardine shaped can. Awesome. I thought you could only get that at dim sum. The worst decision you have to make during the night is whether to put Ravioli in “Tuna and Canned Meat”, “Canned Soup”, “Miscellaneous”, or “Pasta and Rice”. I have to say, after a while, the miscellaneous box was looking darn fine, the people of Revelstoke have good taste. I found out last night that pork and beans come in a costco sized can like Ketchup. The other best moments of the night include overhearing the shock of some of the packers when we were overwhelmed with deliveries. More than once last night there was a truck that pulled in, box full. Usually at some point you can see someone new who volunteers tear up when they understand how important the event is and see everyone come together. The packing area last night definitely wouldn’t have run as smoothly without Jane McNab. Some groups I thought were awesome this week were the Grizzlies and the Cadets who were there from start to finish.
I got the lowdown from Patti and Krista, and they say we collected 11795lbs of food last night. The year before this was 10000lbs, and before that, 8000lbs. I had to use my fisheye lens to get a picture of it all in the police detachment bay. Staying until the end of the night is so worth it because you don’t actually know how much food there is until it’s all packed in there. Everyone compares it to last year then we all speculate as to how many pounds there are in the boxes on pallets. The last few leave with the greatest high, knowing what everyone else is kept in suspense about until they weigh it at Downie Timber the next day. The excitement of the night, and the physical exertion it takes to carry the cans around lends you to a deep sleep. The next step is seeing how it all ends up in the hands of people who need it. But that’s a different story.
There was a total of $5900 of donations and 11795lbs or 5550kg of food which is worth almost $30,000 according to Food Banks Canada.
Community Connections Food Bank would like to thank the following:
• $1000 Knights of Pythias
• $500 Downie Timber
• $500 Anonymous
• $1000 Baptist Church
• $3400 cash from donations door to door from you, the generous public in Revelstoke.
Thank you so much to the following groups for their time:
• Emergency Social Services
• Victim Services
• Revesltoke Fire and Highway Rescue
• Search and Rescue
• BC Wildfire Crew
• Parks Canada
• Revelstoke Roller Derby
• Guiding Program
• Baptist Church
• Alliance Church
• Nordic Ski Club
• Boxing Club
• Stoke Youth Network
• ATV Club
• Stoke FM
• Filipchuk Family
• Mostert Family
• Revelstoke Grizzlies
• Columbia Park School
• As well as a HUGE group of sorters!
Other groups that have supported us thus far:
Coopers, Downie Timber, City Transfer, Home Hardware, Lakeside Printing, Revelstoke Current, Revelstoke Times Review, Stoke FM, Revelstoke Cable, Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Peter Humphries, CIBC, EZ Rock Radio Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, Fellowship Baptist Church and more!