The Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank is opening a “seniors’ store.”
Matthew Campbell, director of the Cloverdale Community Kitchen, said it’s part of a new outreach program they’ve launched to help meet the needs of seniors.
On Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank is now offering a pick up time in a seniors-only shopping area.
“This is food that would be geared more toward seniors,” said Campbell. “We are seeing a big increase in need and we want to try and meet that as best we can.”
The shopping area will allow seniors to pick their own items off shelves and out of fridges.
“Seniors will come through and shop in a place that looks and feels like a regular store,” explained Campbell. “They’ll have a shopping cart and go around choose the items they want.”
He said the idea is to make sure seniors get the food they need in a senior-friendly environment.
“Seniors will feel very comfortable in the senior’s store,” added Meghan Neufeld, director of development for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen. “We’ve got some seniors who aren’t necessarily sure-footed. So this creates a safer environment for them.”
Neufeld said as of May 1, they had 211 seniors registered with the food bank and that number is increasing as food prices soar.
“Seniors are on a fixed income and their incomes aren’t going up,” said Campbell. “There are a lot more seniors at risk of food insecurity and we want to make sure that we are meeting their needs.”
MEALS ON WHEELS
The Community Kitchen also serves a lot of seniors with their Meals on Wheels program.
Now skyrocketing gas prices are creating problems for volunteers in the program and leading to a shortage of drivers.
The Meals on Wheels program serves 200 seniors four nights a week on 11 different routes throughout Cloverdale, Langley, Surrey, and White Rock.
“We need 44 drivers per week, which is just under 200 drivers a month, and they’re struggling to do multiple routes because of the increase in gas prices,” said Campbell. “We cover a large area.”
The volunteers cover the cost of their own gas for driving on the routes. This has led to a slight decrease in the amount of people that are available to drive multiple routes over the course of a week or a month.
“The gas increase is definitely hard on our volunteers,” added Campbell. “It’s getting harder to find enough volunteers to cover the routes.”
Ideally, Campbell would like 176 different drivers to do one route per month. Right now he has multiple drivers covering multiple routes on multiple nights.
“We’ll take people that want to drive once a month or once a week,” said Campbell. “Anytime we get someone who’s willing to do at least one route a month, it covers one of those spots, that’s a good thing!”
He said even one new driver helps.
“If someone can do it once a month, it makes a huge difference to us.”
For more info, visit mycck.ca.