Helping hands at Surrey food bank

SURREY — Surrey Food Bank received a helping hand from Envision Financial last week.

During the five-day campaign, bank employees got down and dirty by counting, sorting and handing out food hampers.

"This has been a fantastic. I just think there are too many people without food and they need all the help they can get," said volunteer Anita Krauser, who was in charge of organizing non-perishables in the back.

Meanwhile, Tim Mackie could be spotted outside talking with clients and handing out tomatoes.

"It’s so good to be part of a company that allows us to give back to the communities we live in. To see the need, it’s quite powerful," he said.

Mackie added he was touched to see how appreciative people were. "Sometimes they’re declining the food stations because they don’t want to waste it. It’s been really enlightening."

According to Feezah Jaffer, the food bank’s director of external relations, the facility serves around 300 families a day, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. And with only 12 staff members on board, the organization heavily relies on its 450 volunteers.

"We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them. There’s actually a wait list to volunteer," said Jaffer. "It’s a good problem to have."

She admitted she’s always humbled by Envision’s passion and enthusiasm for showing up.

"Everyone’s so eager and even those who have never been, they always ask questions and share their stories," she said.

In some cases, Jaffer has been told that volunteering for those four hours has been life-changing.

"You get people in here who think they know what ‘type’ of person uses the food bank. But by the end of it, they have a whole new outlook."

In terms of donations, she said the Surrey location is doing OK despite a slow summer. "We’re always looking for protein, like canned fish and meat, peanut butter, pasta and rice."

To volunteer or for more information, visit Surreyfoodbank.org.

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