On Wednesday morning, Sources Langley Food Bank manager Bruce Strom was preparing a group of volunteers for the weekly distribution of food and other supplies to people in need at their 200 Street location.
“We have a full selection of diapers today,” Strom said, surveying the well-packed shelves.
“But we’re short on potatoes.”
It was the first distribution by Sources since the cube van the food bank uses to pick up donations and purchases was stolen.
That happened shortly after gift cards valued at $1,000 were stolen during a break-in — cards that are used instead of cash to purchase perishable food.
The van was recovered, but it suffered mechanical damage that left it un-drivable.
Whoever stole it used the food bank gas card to buy $1,300 worth of diesel gas at a Clearbrook Petro-Canada.
About the same time, the food bank’s other, smaller van broke down and was declared too old to fix.
It was looking like a bleak Christmas until word of the thefts got out.
The response from the community was immediate and overwhelming, said Sources community services director Denise Darrell.
“People walked in with $20 bills,” Darrell said.
Three credit unions, Aldergrove, Envision and Westminster Savings each donated $5,000.
The Purolator Courier company loaned Sources a delivery van — with a driver.
Willowbrook Chrysler loaned a panel van.
The Vancouver Mercedes dealership loaned a second van, and applied food bank decals to the sides.
And four companies got together to replace the stolen cube van.
Led by Langley real estate developer Newmark Group, along with Canadian Truck and Car Rental in Langley, Mr. Lube in Langley and Dawn Construction in Surrey, the firms purchased a one-ton cube van, which arrived at Sources on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was close to tears,” Darrell said of the gift.
Newmark Group President Mark Chandler said it the companies were “grateful” to be of assistance.
“I know that I speak for everyone at the companies that contributed when I say that it is an honour to be able to help Sources Langley Food Bank in this small way,” Chandler said.
Sources CEO David Young said the response was “incredible.”
“The donation of a new truck is what we wished for, and the community came together and helped make our wish come true,” Young said.
Save-On-Foods replaced the stolen gift cards and donated $500 more.