Community centre, food bank needs more volunteers

By Michael Boriero
Local Journalism Initiative

Although community centres provided food bank services throughout the past two years, the pandemic briefly interrupted normal procedures and left behind a giant, crater-sized hole in the volunteer labour force at some centres.
Sara Martinez, the activities coordinator at the Centre d’action bénévole (CAB) de Cowansville, is involved with running and maintaining the food bank in the town. She said that most of the volunteers prior to the pandemic were retired, or individuals over 65 years old.
But the centre has struggled to attract these volunteers back to the food bank, as they fear it will put them at risk of catching COVID-19. It has forced CAB’s team of four employees to take on more responsibilities, and put in more hours to serve the public.
“I wasn’t working for the organization at the time, but what I can say is, just for instance, the services we gave last year with the pandemic at the peak we had around 2,060 services, now we are around 1,300, more or less,” said Martinez.
However, she noted that there was an outpouring of support from the community. People weren’t working, Martinez explained, so a lot of them would spend their time helping the CAB pack boxes with food and essential items for individuals and families in need.
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