Volunteers hopeful for speedy resolution to building issue
© Ashley Thompson
Hantsport & Area Community Food Bank volunteers Brian Bishop and Chris Fry filled December orders early in response to the news that the food bank may have to relocate.
Operations are at a standstill at the Hantsport & Area Community Food Bank until new housing arrangements can be made for the organization.
The food bank’s current facility, the former Just Us! Coffee warehouse on William Street in Hantsport, sold last week.
The sale came sooner than expected, leaving food bank volunteers scrambling to find a new location until the facility’s co-ordinator, Shirley Bishop, received a phone call from the building’s new owner on Dec. 12.
Bishop says the new owner is going to work with a planner to determine how much space she needs to conduct her business in the building, and contact Bishop to discuss leasing possibilities for the food bank once it is known how much space would be available for rent.
“The purchaser is certainly not trying to do anything nasty to us. She is just looking at developing her business,” Bishop said.
“It will remain to be seen whether or not we can make something work there.”
The food bank, serving Mount Denson to Avonport, filled December and Christmas orders for 52 families on Dec. 12to ensure their customers received assistance for the holidays before operations were idled while volunteers worked to find a home for the food bank.
“We haven’t let our clients down for Christmas… we just told them the food bank would be closed until such time as we had more information to tell them.”
Bishop says the holidays, and winter months, can be challenging for people with limited financial resources, and the need in the food bank’s coverage area has recently spiked.
“We’ve had five new families within the last three weeks that we haven’t seen before.”
She is hoping a solution to the food bank’s housing dilemma will be found shortly.
“We have had this happen twice before and we have landed on our feet, so we’re being optimistic that that will happen again.”
The food bank is in need of more volunteers to help with the operations, and a new volunteer co-ordinator. Bishop, who announced her desire to retire Dec. 31 prior to the sale of the building, is no longer able to continue serving as co-ordinator.
People in need of emergency assistance during the food bank’s closure can call (902) 684-3563, or Feed Nova Scotia’s Helpline at 1-877-521-1188.