THUNDER BAY – After several months of being closed due to COVID-19, the Thunder Bay Food Bank (TBFB) is opening
It’s doors again this week. On Thursday morning September 24, food hampers and other supplies will be delivered from the Regional Food Distribution Centre, and on Friday, September 25th the first food bank at this location since April will be open from 9 am until noon.
Many clients have already registered through 211 and others are encouraged to register as soon as possible, to ensure that there will be enough food on hand and that records of service can be maintained.
At this point, the TBFB will be open only every second Friday morning and will be serving clients in the parking area, until final renovations are completed in order to fully re-opening the building.
The TBFB Board made the difficult decision to close in mid-March, realizing there would not be enough volunteers available to remain open. The Thunder Bay Food Bank is staffed entirely by volunteers, almost all of whom are seniors who are in a high-risk category related to COVID-19.
TBFB subsequently emptied all food stock and other supplies, distributing it to local organizations that were continuing to provide services. The bulk went to the Regional Food Distribution Association (RFDA), with smaller amounts distributed to Roots to Harvest, Our Kids Count, and the Indigenous Friendship Centre.
Reino Pitkanen, chair of the Board of the Thunder Bay Food Bank, states: “We are thankful to RFDA, Roots to Harvest, the Salvation Army, and other organizations which were able to continue to feed those in need during the past few months. We are happy to be re-opening as most of the other local food banks have also done recently. We particularly appreciate that Grace Place operated a temporary bi-weekly food bank to serve our clients during the last two months. They will be able to stop this service as we open ours. “
During the months of closure, TBFB was able to undertake a deep cleaning, floor sealing, painting, door replacements, and also to purchase appropriate equipment in order to prepare to re-open safely. This was made possible by financial support from the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, the Thunder Bay Community Foundation and the United Way of Thunder Bay. Roots to Harvest was able to lend us their young and able staff to help with painting and furniture moving. Several local businesses also provided goods and services at discounted rates, including Top Rung Painting, Superior Coatings, Auto Home Paints, Nu Steel Doors, Elite Auto Glass, AdeX, and Crown & Birch.
Chair Reino Pitkanen adds, “We are so appreciative of the support which will make it possible to fully re-open safely. This has once again proved that Thunder Bay truly does have a giant heart!”