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Little Food Bank in the Park is feeding the hungry in Yarrow

Much-needed project run by volunteers relies on donations from neighbours to keep the shelves full
Volunteers Desiree Klynsoon, Kevin Bentster, and Kaeli McIntyre around the Little Food Bank in the Park at Yarrow Pioneer Park. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress)

The Little Food Bank In The Park in Yarrow is packed with free food to feed the hungry.

“We felt there was a need for people to have a low-barrier way of getting food,” said Desiree Klynsoon, one of the volunteer organizers. “It’s worked out really well for our community.”

It’s been working so well in fact that they are hoping that the idea spreads to other communities to fight food insecurity.

“There is such a need for something like this with rising inflation,” said Kaeli McIntyre. “It has created a real sense of community. It’s neighbours helping neighbours.”

It all started when they began filling a small wooden box at the beginning of the pandemic with hard-to-find items.

It was supposed to be temporary.

They filled the first cabinet built by Victor Klassen with food and household items, and put it next to the little free library in Yarrow Pioneer Park.

It went from being filled with non-perishables every few days, to every day, then several times a day.

Clearly there was a strong need for it since they are stocking an even larger food bank receptacle now.

The larger wood cabinet now in use as the food bank was built by Kevin Bentster.

“The sense of community in Yarrow is just amazing,” Bentster offered. That fact was driven home for him last fall when he went to help out at a sand-bagging event to help flooded families.

“I was shocked at how many people were there,” he remembered. “That sense of community makes it a very special place to live.”

Volunteers working to make sure the food bank is well-stocked, include Desiree Klynsoon, Tammy Ayre, and Kaeli McIntyre.

They want folks to know the little food bank is located at 4390 Kehler Street in Yarrow, and it is open to those in need, or those who want to contribute.

“We also want to tell people in other communities how easy it is to start something like this. It doesn’t take a lot of work,” McIntyre said.

The little food bank relies on donations from individuals and organizations.

They recently got some funding help in the form of a Local Love grant for $1,000 from the United Way of the Fraser Valley to help keep the food bank shelves full, and pay Bentster for the food cabinet.

Their recent Build A Box initiative saw a 30-day food drive in which residents filled a box with donated food to help stock the food bank for a chance to win draw prizes.

The organizers want people to feel free to stop by anytime to either take what they need, or donate unexpired, unopened non-perishables and put them in the little food bank.

Those wishing to donate can do so via e-transfer to (mention food bank with donation) to ensure they have resources to shop with when the food bank shelves run low.

Follow their Facebook page, The Little Food Bank In The Park, where they sometimes put special requests for donations for certain items.

RELATED: Soup’s on at the Food Hub in Yarrow

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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