Katherine Worsley and Betty Sanddar squeeze into one of the cramped food storage areas in the space the food bank currently rents. The building is up for sale and the food bank will have to move in order to find a facility that is large enough to store food

Lake Cowichan Food Bank needs your votes

Vote now for the Lake Cowichan Food Bank to win the Aviva Community Fund contest.

As many of you know, the Lake Cowichan Food Bank needs a new home. They’ve entered a contest to win money to fund new housing costs, and they need your vote to win the contest.

However, a huge obstacle, says Katherine Worsley, is that the online voting process is really complicated.

“I’ve been fielding a lot of phone calls from people who want to vote but are having trouble with the process,” said Worsley.

When you go to the website, www…, you are prompted to register via email or through Facebook.

“Facebook is the much easier way to go,” said Worsley. “And for people who voted on the same fund for Palsson school last year, it’s much easier. They’re already registered so they can just go in and vote.”

If you choose to register via email, you’re sent a confirmation email. From there you have to click a link, and then sign in. Once you’ve signed in, the site prompts you to start a new idea. Most people would say no at this point, since they only want to vote, but Worsley says you should say yes. Then once you’ve gone through that process, you are allowed to find their file and place your vote.

The difficult process is really hindering the food bank from receiving votes.

“We’re at just under three hundred votes since voting started on Sept. 29,” said Worsley.

She looked at another registrant, the Lake Country Food Bank on the mainland, who is asking for much more money and looking to build a food bank facility. They have over 1,000 votes already, and they’re project budget is more than $1 million. Worsley believes the Lake Cowichan Food Bank doesn’t have many votes because it’s such a difficult process.

“We need to get at least 500 votes by Oct. 13 (Thanksgiving Monday) in order to move on to the next round of voting,” said Worsley.

She and Betty Sanddar are feeling very discouraged about their chances. in the contest right now.

“When I talk to people on the phone, they’re telling me that they tried to vote but it was so difficult they just gave up,” said Worsley. “I just want to encourage people to vote, push on through.”

If the food bank gets enough votes, they have the potential to win money that will go a long way to saving the food bank.

“We’re not asking for as much as the Lake Country entry. All we need is enough money to lease or maybe even buy a spot where we can store our food and have an office and distribution centre.”

Worsley and Sanddar explained that while the church which currently houses the food bank has invited them to come to the church’s new location, there wouldn’t be enough room in the location to store the food. This would add more work and cost for already overworked volunteers to the difficult process of preparing, bagging and handing out the food bags once a month.

Worsley shares that she is discouraged and frustrated there hasn’t been more interest from the community, and she can’t understand it.

“Everyone is only one or two pay checks away from needing the food bank,” she said. “If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for a cousin or mother or father or neighbour.”

But right now, Worsley, Sanddar and fellow food bank volunteers are simply asking for people from the Lake communities to donate a little bit of time and a little bit of effort to vote in Aviva’s contest. Even if the process is slightly annoying, if the food bank contest entry wins, the funding they truly need will be paid by the insurance company running the contest.

To vote, visit https://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf19723. From here you will have to go through the steps outlined above in order to vote, but it’s a small price to pay for an organization that is vital to lake cowichan and surrounding communities. If the food bank closes, people in need will have to go to a food bank in Duncan, which will make it even harder for them, since many food bank clients walk and hand carry their groceries.

For more information on this complex issue or to learn more about the Lake Cowichan Food Bank and how you can help, phone the Lake Cowichan Food Bank Society at 250-749-6239 or email cowichanlakefoodbank@gmail.com.