Expiration date: Young volunteers needed for Torbay food bank to survive

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Expiration date: Young volunteers needed for Torbay food bank to survive

The food bank in Torbay may have several dedicated volunteers, but those in charge of the facility are worried about how it will survive in the years to come.

The site has been seeing a spike in demand, and volunteers work 30 or 40 hours a week to keep up, especially during months like March when they assemble the annual Easter hampers.

Problem is — the volunteers are nearly all in their 70s or older.

"Almost every one of us here are old age pensioners," said Leo Galway, president of the Torbay food bank."

"We just don't have any volunteers from youth to come in and take over."

Higher demand, fewer volunteers

Galway and his wife Madonna have been involved with the food bank for 20 years, and said they're grateful for the volunteers they have now.

But with the recent economic downturn in the province they've also come to realize that they'll soon need to start bringing in some fresh faces to take over once the current volunteers – including themselves – get too old to keep it going.

"We really hope that the youth out there are listening and are willing to help," Galway said. "Because people are always going to be hungry, and as you can see the economy is getting worse now. So we're really going to need you."

Some jobs, such as assembling metal shelving to keep the Easter hampers off the cold floor, are already too much for the older volunteers to do.

While they do get help from young people at certain times of year through organizations such as Allied Youth, Scouts and Girl Guides, the Galways worry that there won't be anyone to take over actually running the food bank year-round.

"They've got more things to do I suppose, it's the same with every organization," Leo said. "They don't want to get involved and make commitments."

Staying spry

In the meantime, the Galways and the volunteers at the food bank will continue to keep the facility running — despite the fact that they're all well into retirement age.

"It's just as well to be over here doing something as to be home," Leo said. "We still move along, it's what keeps us active."