Creston Valley Gleaners Society manager George Goulder landed a big one on Monday in the form of a $4,000 donation from the Creston Valley Rotary Club, represented by Al Garrecht. The funds will help stock the rapidly depleting shelves of the Creston Food Bank. On hand to verify that the cheque was “a keeper” were three of the more than 100 local residents who volunteer at Gleaners and the Creston Food Bank. Lorne Eckersley photo

Rotary to the Rescue

By Lorne Eckersley

With Creston Valley Gleaners having been closed for more than a month, one of its main beneficiaries from sales of donated goods has been struggling to maintain its services.

The Creston Food Bank operates entirely on donations from Gleaners and the community, and is facing a higher demand than usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put many people out of work. Demand, Gleaners’ manager George Goulder said on Monday, has increased by 125 per cent over last year at this time.

In response to the need, the Creston Valley Rotary Club made a $4,000 donation to the food bank on Monday.

“On April 6, 2020, our District Governor announced that some unused grant funds in District 5080 would be made available for clubs to use as a one-time opportunity for a local project that is Covid-19 impact related,” Rotarian Dave Handy said on Friday. “The District proposed to match dollar for dollar the funds put up by each club. Specific emphasis and suggestions included support for local food banks or food distribution programs.

“The Creston Valley Rotary Club agreed to donate $2,000 to Creston Food Bank, and we also applied for district funds.”

Of course the funds were limited and requests from Rotary clubs quickly exceeded the amount available. In response to the demand, District 5080 (a rare international Rotary district, which extends from Golden in the northeast to Tri-Cities, Washington in the southwest) agreed to double the available funds. Leaders then agreed to disburse the money among all qualifying applications, and 73 per cent of each request was forwarded to the clubs.

Handy said it was a happy coincidence that the funds distributed to Canadian clubs in US dollars almost exactly matched their full requests.

“Creston Valley Rotary Club urges all members of the Creston Valley to consider donations to the Creston Food Bank with in kind or cash donations,” he said. “Our local food bank during normal times is funded through the Creston Valley Gleaners Society, and in this crisis those funds have ceased. But the number of clients requesting and in need of food has substantially increased and supply is not able to meet the demand.”

Gleaners manager George Goulder accepted the donation on Monday, and expressed his gratitude that the money would help stock the food bank shelves. He added that the community response to the increased demand for Creston Food Bank support is being met thanks to the generosity of Creston and Kootenay residents, Food Banks BC, Food Banks Canada, Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Brewery and Interior Brewery Workers Local 308, Creston and Creston Valley Rotary Clubs, Pealow’s Your Independent Grocer, Creston Save-On-Foods, The Bargain Store, Creston Home Hardware, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Town of Creston and local RDCK Area directors, the Province of BC and the Government of Canada, Sysco Foods, Gordon Food Services and Malibu Constructon.

Rotary’s work to combat the impact of Covid-19 continues on a global basis. On May 2nd a one-hour an international Facebook Live event will be held to raise more funds. The ambitious goal is $1 million, a healthy addition to the millions already raised and donated by Rotary’s 1.2 million members around the globe.

The Facebook Live event will feature stories of hope, inspiration and gratitude from Rotarians, Rotaractors (young Rotarians) and friends of Rotary from around the world as they share what they are doing to help their communities.

The telethon will also showcase how Rotary’s decades-long commitment to polio eradication has created an infrastructure that now helps combat Covid-19.

For more information follow the Rotary International Facebook page.

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