The Penticton Salvation Army is searching for volunteers after the pandemic drastically reduced the number of people willing to volunteer.
Before the pandemic the Salvation Army had over 114 volunteers, but are now down to 38 between the food bank and thrift stores, said spokesperson Rosemarie Cargill.
The Salvation Army helps to supply food to other charitable agencies and provides spiritual care such as Sunday online services and daily devotions on social media. They also provide food hampers to at least 120 individuals per week.
They operate two thrift stores in Penticton on South Main Street and Ellis Avenue. Funding from the thrift stores helps fund other programs such as the food bank and family services.
Volunteers can expect to spend three to four hours a day at the food bank sorting, packaging and processing groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables.
In the summer volunteers have the opportunity to do some gardening, landscaping, and picking of fruits and vegetable from neighboring farms to get produce for the food bank.
At the thrift stores they are sorting clothes and pricing items.
“Volunteers play an integral role in accomplishing the Salvation Army’s mission and bring a diverse range of skills and experience to the organization. Some of the rewarding aspects as a volunteer is to meet new people, help our community, bring more meaning to their day, feel accomplished by sharing their skills, and enjoying new opportunities,” said Cargill.
Cargill is hopeful that as we start to ease out of the pandemic more people will be willing to volunteer their time again.
“Hopefully with situations not as scary as they were last year we anticipate that our regulars will be back again and also have new volunteers sign up with us,” she said.
The Penticton Salvation Army recently extended their food bank services, making the need for volunteers even greater.
Anyone is able to volunteer with the Salvation Army regardless of background, culture, lifestyle or ability.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer can contact the Salvation Army at 250-492-6494 or email Cargill at Rosemarie.Cargill@salvationarmy.ca.