Dr. Randall and Shalene Trester, who run West 1st Chiropractic Wellness Centre. Last year, their food drive collected more than 400 pounds of food for the Jewish Food Bank. (photo by Allison Kuhl)
Since 2016, patients at West 1st Chiropractic Wellness Centre have been bringing in non-perishable food items destined for the Jewish Food Bank. These donations are collected and, in turn, provided to those in the community who face food insecurity.
The Jewish Food Bank struck a particular chord with chiropractor Dr. Randall Trester and his wife Shalene, who run the centre, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this September.
“I had a few friends that had been helping with the food bank and they told me how difficult the situation is for some people. I felt we just had to get involved,” Shalene Trester told the Independent.
The Tresters hold the food drive every December, reminding clients ahead of time by posting information throughout the centre and via email correspondence.
“Our patients are really the ones who should get all the credit. We organize it every year and it’s amazing to see the generosity of our patients,” said Shalene Trester, who manages the office. “Our patients look forward to participating. It’s awesome to see the overflowing boxes at the end of the food drive. It’s such an awesome feeling to give back to our community every year.”
The most recent drive saw an increase in the amount of food donated. “There was a greater need,” she said.
“The Tresters have been supporting us for many years through their annual food drive and donating all the food to us,” said Carol Hopkins, the coordinator of the Jewish Food Bank. “Last year, they donated 410 pounds of food. We really appreciate their support.”
Distribution for the JFS Grocery Program is held weekly at JFS’s the Kitchen, located at 54 East 3rd Avenue in Vancouver, and at hubs throughout the Lower Mainland. For those unable to pick up their grocery order at one of the hubs, JFS offers a delivery service.
“We currently serve approximately 900 people and provide more than 12,000 kilograms of healthy food every month,” said Hopkins. “The JFS Grocery Program does not offer any meats, poultry or shellfish. We ensure that kosher items are available for clients who do keep kosher.”
The majority of supplies at the Jewish Food Bank are bought, and the team relies heavily on donations – non-perishable food or money. Among the benefits of hosting a food drive, the Jewish Food Bank notes on its web page, are “engaging your community members and helping to spread the word on the issue of hunger, [while] also providing an incredible service to your neighbours in need.”
Some of the best items to donate are rice; canned or dried beans, lentils and legumes; whole grains (oats, barley, millet, bulgur, quinoa, couscous); canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines); canned tomatoes and tomato sauce; and pasta. According to the Jewish Food Bank, a $10 donation can buy $30 of food at wholesale prices or provide four days of healthy snacks for five children.
Soap, shampoo, toilet paper and diapers are greatly appreciated and needed as well.
The Jewish Food Bank funders include Jewish Women International-B.C. and many community members. Any person or organization wanting to organize a food drive should call 604-558-5698 or visit jfsvancouver.ca/food-drive.
Sam Margolis has written for the Globe and Mail, the National Post, UPI and MSNBC.