Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and the weather begins to take a turn towards the colder side, many thoughts are turning towards the upcoming Christmas season, a fact that is on the front burner for the employees and volunteers at the Rimbey Food Bank, which recently announced the hiring of their new coordinator, Heather Torris.
“It’s been exciting and challenging. There’s going lots to learn but everybody that I’ve worked with so far has been great,” Torris said following her second week at the new position. “I haven’t met a lot of the volunteers yet, but hopefully I’ll get to do that soon.”
And while she may still be learning the ropes, one thing’s for sure, she’s well aware that things are about to get very hectic at the food bank.
“Thanksgiving is a case where just the normal hampers go out, that’s all we do. Christmas on the other hand, is the one we focus on. We’ll be holding a blitz in November. I’ve been working really closely with Moira (Gates) who is sort of walking me through things, and the next thing on our agenda is the blitz to try and fill this place right up,” she said.
“They’re telling me Christmas is going to be crazy and it’s very busy and I’ll be meeting a lot of people,” Torris added. “They did say that there are lots of people around – lots of volunteers and everybody jumps on the bandwagon for Christmas and they want to give. I’ve felt the same way many, many times. I’m prepared and hopefully it’ll be exciting.”
With a bit of tempered anticipation, she said she is looking forward to the heightened demands that will soon be prevalent for those in need, but is also looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces.
“That’s what’s really going to be nice about being here. They’ve got a lot of volunteers standing behind me and they have a large force that come every week and are very dedicated,” Torris said. “Luckily I know some of them so that’s going to be nice. It’s not a case of going in and not knowing one single soul.”
A part-time teacher’s aide at the Bluffton School in the mornings four days a week, she has previously lived in the area however she moved away for about 20 years and has recently returned.
As with all food banks in Alberta, the Rimbey one needs help especially at this time of year and in addition to the previously mentioned blitz, they’re also hoping they can count on the public to make Christmas merry for everyone.
“We accept any kind of donations – cash, toys or food,” Torris said. “We really need to fill the Food Bank right up. Apparently, it has been filled right up to the ceiling so we’d like to see that again, because the shelves are a little bare right now.”
As for particular items, at the top of the list this year is coffee, tea, baby items including formula and disposable diapers and anything to do with kid’s lunches – most notably juice boxes.
As Christmas approaches, the food bank will have donation boxes located in area businesses and in addition to non-perishable food items, they’re also looking for maybe a gift or two for less fortunate children.
“They can either make the donations at the offices of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) or they can come here, but normally that doesn’t happen,” Torris said. “Because the hours here are so sporadic, I think it’s usually a process where they go through the office. However, if it’s during Christmas people are coming in to volunteer and they’ll bring donations with them but unless they caught me at the right time on