A group of volunteers helps organize the pantry shelves at the Bread of Life on Third Avenue in Uptown Port Alberni. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Port Alberni’s Bread of Life keeps its clients fed, healthy

Food service is one of four finalists for the Pot Luck Ceramics $10,000 grant

The Bread of life Centre is a place of last resort for Port Alberni residents who need a meal, companionship and support.

Bread of Life is one of four finalists vying for a new $10,000 grant from the Alberni Fundraising Co-op, which runs Pot Luck Ceramics.

Bread of Life provides hot, nutritious breakfast and lunch seven days a week using recovered and donated food. At our centre all are welcome—no hungry person is turned away—all we ask is respect for guests and staff. Guests are safe here and can obtain referral to community services, community health nurses and mental health workers three days a week, and a doctor on Fridays.”

Brad of Life serves the broader community by keeping their guests healthy and by providing a safe environment for those who might otherwise have no place to go. They also mitigate food waste at local food stores with daily food recovery that is used for meals, sharing with other agencies, or by distributing excess fresh produce to our lunchtime guests.

The Bread of Life is served by a few staff members, many community volunteers and a volunteer board of nine directors.

“Our financial support comes entirely from the citizens of Port Alberni. We have no core funding from Government Gaming Grants, recognizing that many of our guests have gambling and other addictions issues.”

The other finalists also competing for the $10,000 grant are ADAPS; AV Hospice Society; and co-finalists ADSS Breakfast Club and Alberni Valley NeighbourLink Society’s elementary school Read and Feed program, who would split the $10,000 donation equally.

If Bread of Life is chosen to receive the $10,000 grant, they would use it to help fund and continue their weekend wellness meals.

“Last year with a grant from VIHA we were able to pilot a program to serve a hot meal on weekends in addition to our weekday service,” a spokesperson wrote in Bread of Life’s application. “The program was very successful—people are hungry on weekends too. We also found that more children and families attend on weekends.”

The grant from VIHA was for one year only, and to continue the program must be funded from local sources.

“While we receive most of our food from food recovery pick up at local grocery stores – the real cost of weekend meals is salaries, utilities and insurance. The approximate cost of the service is $20,000 per year.”

Members of the public have until Nov. 10 to make their choices known at the Pot Luck Ceramics cottage. Then the Port Alberni Fundraising Co-op board members will make their final decision. An announcement will be made at a public event on Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Pot Luck cottage, 4473 Gertrude St.

The Alberni Valley News has profiled the four finalists leading up to a final decision. The first profile, on Ty Watson House, ran in our Oct. 24 print edition. The second profile, on the co-finalist breakfast clubs, ran in our Oct. 31 print edition. A profile on ADAPS was scheduled to run alongside this feature on Bread of Life in our Nov. 7 print edition.

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