Nfld. & Labrador

Lamentable state of C.B.S.-Paradise food bank turned on its head with surge of support

The state of the C.B.S.-Paradise Community Food Bank is a sharp contrast from just a few days ago, when chair Peter Wells said things were dire.

'The outpouring is just amazing,' says chair Peter Wells

Conception Bay South town staff Glen Bishop and Gordon Lundrigan collect boxes of turkeys to drop off to the community food bank for their Christmas hamper program. (Town of Conception Bay South/Facebook)

The state of the C.B.S.-Paradise Community Food Bank is a sharp contrast from just a few days ago, when chair Peter Wells said things were dire.

"Our campaign, I have to be honest, it's probably one of the worst years," Wells said Thursday.

Things are a lot different now.

Within minutes of speaking about the dire situation at the food bank on CBC's St. John's Morning Show last week, Wells said they were "flooded with calls" from people wanting to help.

"It's just amazing. The outpouring is just amazing," he said.

It's just absolutely amazing, the outpouring from the public.- Peter Wells

"The big hit, Friday morning, was when the two town councils got together — we didn't approach them, we didn't ask anything — and they decided that they would supply whatever we needed."

The two towns bought $5,000 worth of turkeys to bring to the food bank.

"We never want to see anyone in our communities be without food, and that is especially true during the holiday season," said Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett in a statement.

Wells said Conception Bay South town staff dropped off their share of the turkeys already, while Paradise staff will deliver theirs on Wednesday — since the food bank doesn't have enough physical space to store 400 turkeys at one time.

"For them to come forward and offer all these turkeys was just simply amazing and it really made my day — it made our day at the food bank," Wells said.

"Just to see all our volunteers with smiles on their faces, because we now can give out what we want to give out. It's just absolutely amazing, the outpouring from the public."

'Things are gonna work out'

The mood among the people working at the food bank has been completely turned on its head, Wells said, compared with the blue mood of last week.

"It was emotional because most of us around the board table have been there for a long time.… We've never seen anything like it, that a week before Christmas or two weeks before Christmas we got no turkeys," he said.

"It was depressing for us because we work so hard to try to get things out to people, and to find that there's just nothing there was really a downer for us, but then for everything to come through the way it did is just awesome."

The hampers prepared by the food bank aren't all food; each family will get a turkey, and gift certificates in $25 increments, depending on the size of the family, to buy the groceries they need, rather than having a food hamper already selected for them.

The donations, Wells said, of both food and cash have met the need for the holiday season.

"We've come up with enough cash for all the gift certificates and now we have enough turkeys, so for Christmas, we are good. We worry about after Christmas when that happens, and we just have to go back to our faith and believe that things are gonna work out," he said.

"I guess at the end of the day all people need is to know that there's a need out there, and Newfoundlanders are great for meeting that need."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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