Food Bank on the Edge executive director Cris Martin happily hands a $1,400 cheque to Fish and Loaves president John Enns outside the Tofino BC Liquor Store on March 10. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Food Bank on the Edge executive director Cris Martin happily hands a $1,400 cheque to Fish and Loaves president John Enns outside the Tofino BC Liquor Store on March 10. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Tofino and Ucluelet food initiatives share support

Local groups share $3,800 windfall collected by local BC Liquor Stores.

Ucluelet’s Food Bank on the Edge and Tofino’s Fish and Loaves Humane Society is celebrating a $3,800 windfall thanks to community support collected by local BC Liquor Stores.

Food Bank on the Edge executive director Cris Martin told the Westerly News that she received a $3,800 donation cheque and was told the money had been collected by both the Tofino and Ucluelet BC Liquor Stores.

When she learned that $1,400 of that funding had been donated to Tofino’s location, she quickly contacted Fish and Loaves society president John Enns to share the support and handed Enns a $1,400 cheque outside Tofino’s BC Liquor Store on March 10.

“When money and donations are raised in Tofino, I really feel it’s important to let that stay in Tofino,” Martin said. “This is such a great feeling to be able to give that money back to Tofino…We thank the BC Liquor Stores, we thank the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet. This is an opportunity for us to continue to work together to help fight food insecurity and help people who come to the West Coast.”

She added that while Fish and Loaves is not included in the Food Banks BC network, it is a tremendously valued local food initiative.

“John is a great champion of food security on the West Coast…We have collaborated for years together and our relationship has been solidified over the years,” she said. “He’s a gentle, kind person and I love it when I can surprise him with money just totally out of the blue like this.”

She added that the two have “a great relationship” and collaborate together often to help deliver food to the region’s wide-ranging and remote communities.

“We have some unique problems out here on the West Coast,” she said. “A lot of food banks in big cities just don’t have the problems we have out here. Accessibility is one of the big challenges…We are both aware of our challenges out here and that just fosters more of a relationship to stay focused and continue to try to help people who need our help.”

Enns was thrilled to receive the funding and excited to put it to work on helping those in need.

“We really appreciate when the community and the businesses come to support Fish and Loaves and we’re glad that they can do it in this way,” Enns told the Westerly. “It will enable us to not only have food and other things like Co-op cards and stuff for people, but we’re also travelling out to places like Kennedy Lake and areas like that in order to help people that are out there and to hopefully help them to actually integrate into the community, get jobs and become part of the community.”

He added that he has been heartened to witness those outreach efforts bear fruit as campers evolve into residents.

“I’ve seen a lot of success. I’ve seen a lot of people come here and not have hardly anything and we’ve given them the first few steps and they’ve been able to go right up the ladder and some of them even have businesses now,” he said.

He added that Fish and Loaves’ primary objective is to “care about people,” which can mean a wide variety of support, including helping them find employment and housing.

“Thank you to Jesus who is the one who started this all in me and other people. We’re a group of Christian people who started the whole organization,” he said. “I want to thank Cris and the Food Bank on the Edge. They’ve been very supportive of us, especially through COVID-19 and some stressful times, we have been able to help each other and they have been a great supporter of Fish and Loaves for a long time.”

Anybody interested in finding out more about Fish and Loaves is encouraged to meet the group at the Tofino Legion—331 Main St.—on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., or reach out to Enns at 250-726-5017.

The Food Bank on the Edge is open on Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. at 160 Seaplane Base Rd. and can be reached at 250-726-6909.

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