By RANDI BEERS
SPECIAL TO THE TRURO DAILY NEWS
TATAMAGOUCHE – A new food bank has carved an important niche here since being launched last fall.
According to Feed Nova Scotia, 60 distinct households registered with Neighbours Helping Neighbours since its opening in November. On average, the food bank is helping 12 households per week.
Donelda Lepper, who manages the food bank, says the number has exceeded her expectations.
“Having the food bank in the community has shown that there was a strong need,”she said, adding that the demand is expected to drop during the warmer months.
The Colchester East Hants Health Authority first saw a need for a food bank in Tatagamouche when it noticed local residents tarvelling to use food banks in Truro and Pugwash.
The health authority then asked Feed Nova Scotia to get involved.
“We were delighted the community recognized the need and reached out to us,” said Dianne Swimenar, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia. “We really need to help people where they are.”
Mike Belliveau, manager of Mike’s Foodland and one of the bank’s many avid supporters, keeps a bin in his store so people can donate outside of the food bank’s hours.
“We collect a lot of goods for them. A lot of good people in this town,” said Belliveau.
“The community has been very supportive in donations of both food and money,” she said. “We get eggs, canned milk, peanut butter and cereal.”
There is one item she’d like to see more of, however.
“I find it very hard to keep juice stocked. That’s what I’d like to see more of on my shelf.”
The food bank is open Tuesdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Hours are expected to change from 9 a.m. until noon starting June 1.
Lepper asks first-time food bank users to bring a health card for everybody in his or her family as well as proof of address such as a rent receipt or bill.
“(But) we are a small rural area and I won’t turn people away because they don’t have it,”she said.