The District of Mackenzie experienced a serious downturn in the economy with mill closures in the spring of 2007. In the fall of 2008 the requests for food assistance from those in need in our community was on the rise. With the economy in such dire straits, the need increased.
St. Peter’s received a call from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Prince George with an offer to help out the Community of Mackenzie and they sent money to assist with food hampers for those in need at Christmas, and then again at Easter.
Shortly thereafter it was suggested we start a St. Vincent de Paul Society in Mackenzie. We presented the idea to the congregation at St. Peter’s as an opportunity to serve the needs of families at risk in Mackenzie, and then presented it to the other local church communities. Everyone was pleased and supportive to take part. Bishop Gerald Wiesner gave us support and blessings.
In May of 2008 members from St. Vincent de Paul from Prince George came to speak to us about the society with a wealth of information and how we could start our own.
We held our first Annual General Meeting May 24 where an executive and a board of directors were elected.
It was decided that the area at the entrance of the church hall was to be the pantry. A plan was developed on how to best use the space available. We also were blessed with the Job Opportunities Program in Mackenzie which provided us with labour hours and materials to improve our space. A fridge was donated and many generous gifts given.
A food drive was held among the four churches of the city of the Prince George Diocese and the Diocesan Centre coordinated by Father Richard Beaudette of St. Mary’s Parish. The truckload of groceries was an overwhelming gift to the Pantry. The shelves were stocked, and we were ready to help those most in need.
We officially opened our doors to our “Guests” June 17, 2009. We continue to provide monthly assistance to those in need. The Wednesday prior to assistance cheque day we offer an opportunity to share conversation, coffee, soup, perhaps a cookie or two and a week of groceries. We are also available for emergencies and have a roster of volunteers scheduled to respond to those calls.
We have over 35 volunteers who are enriched by the experience serving those in our community. We serve an average of 115 people per pantry.
The generosity from many in our community has made our ministry to the needy one of success and fulfillment. Our hope is that we are able to serve as many as possible, who are in need, with what we are provided with.
If you would like to make an monetary donation, food donation or volunteer your time please call 1-250-997-3193.