As the president of the Richmond Food Bank Society, I have been able to observe and appreciate the way my community supports those in need.
We are a grassroots funded organization and without this tremendous support from individuals, corporations, schools, service groups and so on, the food bank would not be able to keep up with the increasing need for food assistance within Richmond.
Unfortunately, this need is increasing at a dramatic rate; in 2008 we were feeding an average of 310 families a week, while earlier this month we hit an all-time high of 585 families.
I fear this trend will not reverse in the near future.
As we tally up the year-end support in both dollars and food stuffs, I am grateful that I live in such a supportive community.
I would like to thank some special people.
First, to each and every one of you that donated a can of food, a loonie at the school fundraiser, a thoughtful cheque or some other donation - thank you very much.
Also a big thank you to our 130 plus volunteers who create a warm and cheery environment that our clients appreciate.
You truly do make a difference to the lives of those in need.
Thanks also to all our community partners who allow us to address the needs of our clients on a holistic basis providing help with social and health care needs. There is still much to do in these areas.
This year, I would like to offer two special thanks.
First to the Richmond News for their thorough series which helped us tell the community what we are doing and how we are applying their donations to our various food bank programs which serve the city.
The second thank you goes to 10-yearold Hedy Ng who wrote a thoughtful and well researched letter to the News about the food bank and the needs within our community.
I am seeing more and more examples of our young citizens demonstrating an early social consciousness and am heartened by this.
On behalf of the board of directors of the Richmond Food Bank Society: Thank you, Richmond!
Gary Lake President Richmond Food Bank Society