The St Andrews Food Bank (Open Door Program) was created in the spring of 2016 to help families in difficult situations. Gift Cards for groceries are distributed every month, at the rate of $35 for individuals and $75 for families. Additional help is available for clients in need during the month. This is a rather innovative way of running a food bank that was based on the Woodstock (Ontario) model. Using gift cards was deemed efficient because there is very little operation cost so most of the money raised is available to help the clients. The gift cards are generic PC gift cards left unmarked, protecting clients’ privacy which is an important issue in such a small community.
Last year, the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County (VCCC) was a great help, providing both advice and administrative support. The St Andrews Food Bank distributes gift cards monthly on set days in the basement of Wesley United Church, facilities that were graciously made available for distribution days and meetings. In addition, the local grocery store, Craswell’s Independent, was instrumental in facilitating our operations in several ways. Numerous volunteers provided their time (over 100 hours a month) and various materials to carry out the various activities (coordination, accounting, distribution day administration, fundraising, client meeting, etc.).
During this second year of operation of the St Andrews and Area Open Door Program (April 2017 to 31 March 2018), we took steps to become a fully independent charitable organization. We obtained a business number and we have applied for charitable organization status, created a board of directors, opened a bank account, and started organizing our administrative procedures to meet more stringent expectations.