Bowen ‘angels’ stock food bank
Welcome to year 23 of Island Neighbours: stories of island history, people, activities and events. Please let me know about your special news (phone 947-2440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Although Bowen’s modest food bank has been a staple of island life for a long time, it’s almost invisible to most islanders. However, it’s a valued source of help for a small but important group of islanders – those who are dealing with hard times. The downturn in the economy means that Bowen’s food bank is helping more folks.
•The food bank was created many years ago by longtime resident Angie McCulloch who saw the need for a Bowen version of the mainland’s food banks. Angie soon drew her friend Sue Clarke into a partnership. Finding a suitable location was a major challenge but it wasn’t long before the pastor and congregation of the Little Red Church offered on-going use of the church lobby. The church is within walking distance of Snug Cove, an important consideration since food bank users may not have a car. Sue and Angie always stressed that recipients stay anonymous.
• Angie and Sue found that the church’s small lobby provided just enough space to establish the new service. As an added aid, they set the food bank up to be open 24 hours daily, seven days a week. Both donors and clients can come whenever it’s convenient. There’s a small fridge in the lobby and a larger one near the entrance to Collins Hall. These tools make various types of food available.
• The need for the food bank is so apparent to thoughtful individuals and agencies, that there are a number of “angels’’ who drop off food donations. Local establishments have also been very helpful. And always, there are islanders who provide funding for needed purchases (cheques can be made out to ‘food bank” and mailed to Bowen Island United Church and tax receipts will be given). Sue Clarke is now the chief volunteer for the food bank and, along with Angie, deserves much appreciation.
• January 25 is when my next column will appear and that’s nicely timed since it’ll give me a perfect excuse to salute Scotland’s Robbie Burns who was born on January 25, 1759. I’ve been enamored of things Scottish since I was a kid. As an adult, I played fiddle in the Vancouver Fiddle Orchestra. The VFO’s specialty is playing jigs, reels and strathspeys for Royal Scottish Country dances, for concerts and at Burns Suppers. In fact, the VFO played a concert on Bowen Island some years ago. Robbie Burns was a man of many talents and deserves to be Scotland’s hero. The fact that Robbie Burns was a bit of a ladies man prompted many stories. A dubious tale was the one where Robbie and a bishop died the same day and through a mix-up, Robbie went to heaven and the bishop went to hell. Of course, the local authorities quickly realized their error and reversed the two. As Robbie passed the bishop in limbo, he asked “Why are you so anxious to get to heaven?” The bishop answered “ I wanted to see the Virgin Mary.” Said Burns, “ You’re five minutes too late.”
• Ten Years Ago in the Undercurrent of January 3, 2003, Bowen’s new council was beginning four days of workshops and tutorials to be followed by a series of off-island orientation sessions. The finale was to be a two-day February strategic planning and goal-setting workshop.
• Corporal Louis from Bowen’s RCMP detachment presented a report outlining five years of service. He felt that statistics showed the need for a third officer. The workload included break and enter /thefts cases, noise complaints, traffic related items, liquor files plus drug-related offenses. • David Wrinch’s letter saluted the volunteers who worked faithfully in the cold and damp old BIRD station: Brian Hodgins, Dale Read, Bill Carr, Frank Nielsen, Doug Bowen, Stacey Leigh, Jim Moore, Martin Clarke, Roger McGillveray, Nancy Lee, Dave Cameron, plus Sue Bell and KenWalker, Anne Seaberly, Jean Cleator plus Julie and Jack Headley. Some of the volunteers had volunteered for 15 years, especially newly retired George Hunter.
• The Undercurrent of January 10 front page story referred to the controversy which erupted over Rondy Dike’s 15-page-proposal for a transfer station for Bowen Island. Joanne Cunday, BIM treasurer, noted that Bowen falls under GVRD’s solid waste management and waste was not something that Bowen could just take control of. • Jan Furst’s letter announced that he would be 90 on Thursday, January 16 and because Thursday was a bad day for a big celebration, he was inviting friends to a cocktail party at the Tunstall Bay Clubhouse on Saturday, Janaury 18.
• The Last Word: A hearty round of applause for the dedicated team which, annually, makes sure that Christmas hampers are delivered to those who need them. This service was created many years ago by the island’s Rita Greenlaw whose talents included managing many haunted houses and Bowfest parades.