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White Rock Rotary lunch program funds dwindling

Enough funds in place for ‘about a month,’ says volunteer
Rotary lunch volunteer Moti Bali and Janine Maclean of Seriously Good Catering at the ‘Feed My City’ lunch hut, where meals continue to be distributed daily to those who turn out – but funding is running low. (Contributed photo)

Funding is drying up for a White Rock Rotary program that has been offering free meals to the vulnerable during the pandemic.

Moti Bali, a volunteer with the ‘Feed My City’ effort, said this week that, without further donations, there is only enough money left to continue the service for “about a month.”

“We’re running short,” he said Monday (Aug. 30), noting daily costs of operating the program range from $200 to $250. “We’re trying to pursue this until the churches open.”

The program launched in May of 2020, with local restaurants providing food four days per week, at a $5-per-meal cost, from a serving station in the gravel parking lot located at the northeast corner of Johnston Road and Russell Avenue.

As a greater need for it became apparent – with food programs that had been offered at various churches across the Semiahmoo Peninsula and beyond shut down due to pandemic-related restrictions – it became a daily endeavour.

READ MORE: Demand continues to climb for White Rock free hot meal service

Generous donations – including some that have come from grateful recipients – enabled the program to expand to meet the increasing demand.

One recipient gives $150 every other month, while another has donated about $1,000 in all, Bali noted.

Bali said while there continues to be the odd negative comment from those who feel “we are doing a disservice to the community” by allowing anybody to partake, he said the program operates on good faith, with a goal of not only providing food, but also camaraderie and hope.

And, “if they’re standing in line for an hour, I’m not going to question,” he said.

Currently, 30-35 people turn out for the midday meals. Volunteers said recipients this week told them the program has helped in sundry ways, from easing the financial strain of living on a pension to giving them a sense of community during the pandemic.

Bali said fewer meals are being ordered from participating restaurants – which have included Seriously Good Catering, Red Rose Restaurant and Indian Flavours Restaurant – to ensure food does not go to waste. In the event of a shortage, the balance needed is ordered from a nearby restaurant.

The goal is to continue the program for as long as it’s needed, and Bali said anybody who would like to help with that may do so in a number of ways: via a cheque payable to Rotary Club of White Rock and dropped off during the lunch distribution hour – provided that COVID-19 protocols are respected – or mailed to Feed My City, c/o Rotary Club of White Rock, PO Box 75005, 15105 16 Ave., V4A 6G3. Those who would like to donate by e-transfer may do so to (using ‘Feed My City’ for the question and ‘whiterock’ for the answer).
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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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