PORT HARDY – The community has supported the Harvest Food Bank for 13 years, now manager Pierre Beaulieu hopes someone in the community will take over running it.
Beaulieu, and the four board of directors of the food bank, are trying to retire, but Beaulieu doesn't want to just close the doors.
"We are looking for an organzation to step in and take over running it," said Beaulieu. "I talked to the Salvation Army but they would need six months to take it over. "I approached churches but they not able to get it together."
If a group could be found, the Harvest Food Bank Society would simply continue as it is but under new leadership, said Beaulieu.
But it takes more than just willingness.
"The food bank needs someone with strong leadership and a will to work," said Beaulieu. "Someone able to understand the needs of people in town."
"The job is not graceful or as rewarding as you might think, but we have worked hard," said Beaulieu. He said he and the board have "just been there too long."
The Harvest Food Bank was spearheaded by Beaulieu 13 years ago.
"When I started people said 'You crazy?', but I was determined. We needed a food bank," said Beaulieu. And he made his point. In 13 years, the food bank has served 3,500 people.
"It amazed me sometimes who comes to the food bank, but everyone has to feed their kids," said Beaulieu. "It's incredible the amount of people who have come in."
And the food bank has done more than just provide groceries for families in need.
They have supported local schools with breakfast and lunch programs, provided food for funerals and supported anyone in need.
Since its beginning, the second hand store has supported the food bank and allowed it to purchase its own vehicle and the building on Market Street.
"It's a lot of work, but it is a good business," said Beaulieu.
Beaulieu has been looking for a suitable group to take over the food bank for about two months. In the meantime, the food bank continues to operate as usual.
"If no one takes over, I will have to look at some other way," said Beaulieu. "But I'm not there yet."
Once he does retire, Beaulieu plans to stay in Port Hardy and for the first while, just take it easy.
"I will stay in the community and find something else to do," he said.
Anyone interested in the food bank can call Beaulieu at 250-902-0332.