Surrey Food Bank looks for new building as director retires

Surrey Food Bank looks for new building as director retires

The outgoing executive director of the Surrey Food Bank expects her replacement will have a hard time finding an appropriate new facility to move into.

Marilyn Herrmann, who announced her retirement earlier this week, plans on stepping down at the end of June.

Herrmann said she has spent the last six years looking for a new building that has more room than her current site in Whalley.

"Surrey Food Bank is in one of the fastest growing cities in Canada with some of the highest real estate properties," she said.

"We're cramped and I've had to get an extra building off site just to keep the extra food we get during certain seasons of the year."

Herrmann said they have a site in mind, which clients would be able to access by transit.

"We're in discussion right now and we think we may have found some land to build a building," she said.

Saying goodbye

"I don't think the neighbourhood is going to want us there because of that NIMBYISM. It's going to be a challenge and I'm hoping that my successor is going to have some background in that so they'll have a skill set that will help."

After 14 years at the helm of the Surrey Food Bank, Herrmann wants to step aside so that she can spend more time with her husband.

"I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish in this position but it's time for new blood and a new face, a younger face maybe."

"My husband hasn't been very well, so that has really been the catalyst."

Herrmann said she's excited about the next chapter of her life but says she'll miss what she calls the best job she's ever had.

"The thing I'll miss the most is the people," she said.

"I have never met a group of people who are so wonderful and so committed to making a difference in people's lives."

Bigger job

Herrmann said when she took over the Surrey Food Bank, most of her clients were single mothers or men in their late 50s who were struggling to find work.

She said the faces of the people she helps look much different today, due to a lack of affordable housing and skyrocketing rents.

"Now what I see are families," she said.

"We even created an evening depot because so many of our clients are working and they can't get here during the day."