The Bread of Life is hoping to increase its meal service to extend to seven days per week. Currently offering two meals per day Monday to Friday, board members want to be able to provide those in need or living in poverty the opportunity to have a free meal on the weekends. That, along with regular operational and maintenance, will come with additional costs to the tune of $10,000.
The organization is hoping members of the community will dig deep in their pockets to help out and count on the holiday season for generous donations.
“Everyone still has to eat on the weekends,” said board member, Rosalind Chapman. “A lot of our guests do not have cooking facilities or are isolated and lonely. The Bread of Life is a good community connection.”
Chapman recently returned to Port Alberni and said she has come back to a different place than it was in the 1980s.
As a former employee with the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, she said she understands the complications of poverty.
“The rates for Income Assistance and Disability Assistance have not increased in a long time,” she said. “But housing and utilities are going up and it is difficult for anyone to find a place to rent for $375 per month. It is a tough way to live. If places like the Bread of Life didn’t exist, I image the police budget would increase, the hospital use would increase and all of the emergency services would be affected.”
With the donations received, the organization is able to maintain the 26,000 meals served per year, which is equivalent to feeding about 100 people per day, but in order to open two more days, needs to increase the fundraising.
“We have concerns of losing Fairway Market in January,” Chapman said. “They provide us with donations of dairy, produce and meat.”
A new online donation site has been launched to make it easy to donate.
The money generated will also help maintain the infrastructure on the aging building, as well as the cost of staff and operations.
Along with the online option, canadahelps.org, where the Bread of Life can be searched, anyone wishing to donate can also do so in person, by mail, or through any local church.