At one of the busiest times of year, Linda MacRae walked into the Glace Bay Food Bank and found boxes of donated food surrounded by water.
The charity’s basement, where supplies and food are stored, flooded sometime on Tuesday during a winter storm. MacRae estimates $900 worth of goods were destroyed, but said the full cost still hasn’t been tallied.
“I cried, and then I just pulled myself together and said, ‘OK, we’ve got to get this done,'” the food bank’s coordinator told CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon.
By Thursday afternoon there were about 30 people helping to bring the food that could be saved upstairs, including two basketball teams and a hockey team from the local high school.
“I’m so proud of my community right now,” MacRae said. “They’re amazing, and when I see these young faces and the people that have just come to help, it’s overwhelming. It really is.”
The flood started in a downstairs bathroom that had been plugged. MacRae said heavy snow that hit the area on Tuesday added to the problem and meant the water had nowhere to go.
“It came through every room in the basement. It went through everything. There was one point in one room I stood in, the water was up over my ankles,” she said.
Listen to Linda MacRae’s full interview here:
Maritime Noon53:05Volunteers showed up in droves to help clean up a flood at the Glace Bay Food Bank. We get an update on homeless shelter space in Moncton. And on the phone-in: The expanded role of pharmacists.
Volunteer Joseph Jones said he was shocked to see the damage when he walked into the building on Wednesday.
But that feeling didn’t last long. He had work to do.
“We started taking everything from [downstairs] up to here, and we had to get the orders ready. We had to make quick decisions,” he said.
While some food got wet and had to be thrown of it, other boxes were on shelves and out of the water.
Michelle Warren has been volunteering at the Glace Bay Food Bank for the last couple of months and sees a silver lining in the disaster.
“More people are going to know about the food bank and hopefully we can give out more,” Warren said.
“It really brings this community closer together and hopefully this continues into more good luck and we can get everything back together by the time we open again.”
More people in need of help
The food bank’s holiday food hampers will go out as they normally would, but clients won’t be able to eat a turkey dinner in the space this year. Instead, the meal will be ready for people to pick up and take away next Wednesday.
Like so many charitable organizations, the Glace Bay Food Bank is seeing more people struggling to afford groceries. On Wednesday alone 10 new people signed up, MacRae said.
“The need is increasing on a daily basis and I’m really concerned about the new year,” she said. “There’s going to be other price hikes on food. It’s just getting at a crisis situation for a lot of people.”
The organization needs to replace the floors in the basement and must pay a $10,000 deductible up front, MacRae said. It’s still unclear how much the entire renovation project will cost but she hopes it’s complete by February.
While work is happening downstairs, staff and volunteers are busy upstairs.
“We’re running out of space now … but you know what? We’re going to make it work,” MacRae said. “My big thing now is that we’ve got to keep putting out food for the clients.”
Leave a Reply