While food donations continue to come in to the Lake Country Food Bank, the local charity is facing hard times when it comes to the number of volunteers.
Food bank manager Phyllis MacPherson says the summer months saw the number of people stepping forward to help at the food bank dwindle to just a handful of about five regulars, adding that people need to step up or the food bank won’t be able to continue to provide help to families.
“There are a lot of people in this town who aren’t doing anything to help the community,” said a frustrated MacPherson. “People have been on vacation or are getting older, it’s just the way things are. Now it’s the fall and we need some help. There are a half a dozen old girls like me and we just need some help.”
MacPherson says the community continues to be on side with the food bank when it comes to donating food but she says the small number of volunteers at the food bank and at the relatively newly opened food bank thrift store just isn’t enough to do the work.
“We could open more days if we had more volunteers,” she said. “It seems like it is just getting tougher and tougher to get people out.”
Not only is the food bank struggling to find help, it is searching for somewhere to store food that is expected to come in over the next couple of months as local programs to stock the shelves kick into high gear. Last year some food was stored in the building that is now home to the thrift store but that is no longer an option with the store operating out of there.
With the 800 square foot food bank and a few small storage sheds bursting at the seams (it’s home to eight freezers) at the Lake Country Boys and Girls Club, MacPherson says she doesn’t have many options to put the food that is expected to arrive in the fall through various programs to raise money and food leading up to Christmas.
“We could use another building just for storage,” she said. “Where are we going to put the thousands and thousands of items that are going to come in. We just don’t have any room or place to put it. We may have to rent a truck that can be left (outside of the food bank).”
Another issue surrounds people leaving supposed donations at the food bank and at the thrift store.
MacPherson says many things being left are just unusable as people toss out old and dirty items.
“You’ve never seen such a mess in all your life,” she said. “I could have thrown in the towel the other day, I was that upset. Nobody even wants to touch some of this stuff. You open a box and it’s filthy. It hasn’t been washed or cleaned.”
The Lake Country Food Bank is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in the Lake Country Boys and Girls Club building.