Funding is drying up for a White Rock Rotary program that has been offering free meals to the vulnerable during the pandemic.
Moti Bali, a volunteer with the ‘Feed My City’ effort, said this week that, without further donations, there is only enough money left to continue the service for “about a month.”
“We’re running short,” he said Monday (Aug. 30), noting daily costs of operating the program range from $200 to $250. “We’re trying to pursue this until the churches open.”
The program launched in May of 2020, with local restaurants providing food four days per week, at a $5-per-meal cost, from a serving station in the gravel parking lot located at the northeast corner of Johnston Road and Russell Avenue.
As a greater need for it became apparent – with food programs that had been offered at various churches across the Semiahmoo Peninsula and beyond shut down due to pandemic-related restrictions – it became a daily endeavour.
Generous donations – including some that have come from grateful recipients – enabled the program to expand to meet the increasing demand.
One recipient gives $150 every other month, while another has donated about $1,000 in all, Bali noted.
Bali said while there continues to be the odd negative comment from those who feel “we are doing a disservice to the community” by allowing anybody to partake, he said the program operates on good faith, with a goal of not only providing food, but also camaraderie and hope.
And, “if they’re standing in line for an hour, I’m not going to question,” he said.
Currently, 30-35 people turn out for the midday meals. Volunteers said recipients this week told them the program has helped in sundry ways, from easing the financial strain of living on a pension to giving them a sense of community during the pandemic.
Bali said fewer meals are being ordered from participating restaurants – which have included Seriously Good Catering, Red Rose Restaurant and Indian Flavours Restaurant – to ensure food does not go to waste. In the event of a shortage, the balance needed is ordered from a nearby restaurant.
The goal is to continue the program for as long as it’s needed, and Bali said anybody who would like to help with that may do so in a number of ways: via a cheque payable to Rotary Club of White Rock and dropped off during the lunch distribution hour – provided that COVID-19 protocols are respected – or mailed to Feed My City, c/o Rotary Club of White Rock, PO Box 75005, 15105 16 Ave., V4A 6G3. Those who would like to donate by e-transfer may do so to email@example.com (using ‘Feed My City’ for the question and ‘whiterock’ for the answer).
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