Bouffe Pontiac food bank is located in Campbell’s Bay, a town of 800, with a mandate to serve a vast area with a population of 14,000. Campbell’s Bay is the Pontiac County seat and its geographic centre. 

This means many clients in need must drive distances to access the food bank. But some can’t afford to.  If you’re in need of food you likely can’t pay $60 in taxi fare for a 34-kilometre round trip from Shawville.

When word got around that some Shawville residents were doing exactly that, St. Paul’s saw an opportunity to help. The parish took the idea to the Pontiac Ministerial Association, thereby enlisting the support of all member churches.

St. Paul’s hall is the distribution centre for food bank supplies.

Volunteers from St Paul’s and other churches gather twice monthly to manage the delivery service.

They collect packaged and addressed supplies at Bouffe Pontiac in Campbell’s Bay and deliver them to the church hall where clients can pick them up. 

Since the service was launched in the spring, 10 clients have signed up. “What’s important is that people are now accessing Bouffe Pontiac who could not before,” says the Rev. Susan Lewis, regional dean of West Quebec. 

“Every few weeks we have a new client,” she says, with an estimated potential of 60. A Shawville business has volunteered the use of a refrigerated truck should the need arise.

If, as expected, demand grows, the ecumenical support for the project ensures the capacity to deliver an expanded service.

St. Paul’s also has plans for a sharing fridge and, subject to financial support from Agriculture Canada, a series of food workshops.

St. Paul’s parish is upgrading its infrastructure, with new doors, flooring and kitchen, including a new fridge.

When that’s done, a sharing fridge will be installed outside the church, open to anyone to either take food or donate it. An application has been made through a local food support program at Agriculture Canada for a grant for the workshops.

-Sept 1, 2023, Crosstalk (ADO printed newspaper)

Author: David Humphreys
David Humphreys is a member of the ADO Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group. A retired journalist and former Globe and Mail bureau chief, he is a regular contributor to Crosstalk.

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