Challenge is on to fill food bank

Lady Rose Marine owner challenges businesses to fill food bank shelves.

Mike Surrell of Lady Rose Marine Services is challenging other businesses in the Alberni Valley to fill the shelves of the Salvation Army’s food bank this Christmas by launching a food drive.

Mike Surrell of Lady Rose Marine Services is challenging other businesses in the Alberni Valley to fill the shelves of the Salvation Army’s food bank this Christmas by launching a food drive.

In order to collect food, Surrell is offering a cut rate on day trip tickets to ride the MV Frances Barkley: $25 per adult ticket plus three non-perishable food items.

“We’ve been getting lots of calls already said Surrell, whose business is located at Harbour Quay.

“I’ve done it so people will be motivated to bring us some food and take a ride on the Frances Barkley. I was talking to a young lady that relies on the food bank and she was saying it’s been sparse.”

Surrell approached the Salvation Army, which runs the Alberni Valley’s food bank, and has made arrangements to drop off food donations around Christmastime. His challenge runs until the end of December.

“I thought it would be a good challenge. There are lots of good people working in businesses here and I thought it would be fun to see what we could do and help the food bank.”

Surrell launched a similar project when he owned a KOA campground in Louisiana, before he moved to the Alberni Valley. At that time, they would hold an official weigh-in for food donations, and the returns were phenomenal, he said.

“By the time we were done, after doing it for years, we had so many big businesses, little businesses taking part.

“It’s a fun, friendly way for other businesses to say something like ‘buy a cup of coffee and donate a can of food or some other kind of special.”

The Frances Barkley makes regular runs to Bamfield in the winter months. Right now every trip has been like a whale-watching trip, with orcas and humpbacks spotted nearly every day in Alberni Inlet on the way to Bamfield.

“This month has been phenomenal for whale-watching. Every sailing we’ve seen whales: orcas with calves.”

Surrell is not above talking a little smack when it comes to his food challenge, and he’s willing to take as well as he gets. When he initiated a similar challenge in Louisiana, he wasn’t averse to pulling some pranks on fellow business owners to get them to collect more food.

“We know it’s a positive, good thing for the community. We want to give back to the community wherever we can.”

Lady Rose Marine Services has a large box in their lobby and will accept any food donations, whether someone is buying a ticket on the Frances Barkley or not.

The food bank is grateful for Surrell’s initiative, says Salvation Army family services coordinator, Marilyn Burrows.

“We’re struggling to keep up with the need,” she said. “We have a lot of people coming back from the oilfields and there’s no work there and no work here. We are having new people coming here every week,” she said.

The food bank deals with about 100 families a week. The shelves are typically more bare right after Christmas and in the summertime, Burrows said.

“What Mike is doing is a great thing. Christmas will be a strain but we’ll make it through. Then there’s a food bank right after Christmas, around Dec. 31, so we will need food then.”

The food bank accepts both food and cash donations, and they are always talking to businesses and other organizations that want to help out.

“We’re grateful to be in the community that understands there’s a need out there, and are willing to step up,” Burrows said.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Alberni lacrosse players compete in national tournament

The B.C. bantam team finished fourth out of twelve teams

Port Alberni RCMP recover stolen tool chest

Police still searching for the rightful owner

Kuu-us Crisis Service celebrates 25th anniversary

Port Alberni-based business sets sights on national realm

Vehicle fire extinguished near Cathedral Grove

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

McLean Mill’s steam engine done for the season

McLean Mill Society to consult with community about future of steam

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Most Read