I live next door to this [Duncan] food bank and want to challenge the misinformation and the biases in Gordon Henderson’s letter last week.
Yes, the food bank has many clients daily; the need is great and its location is accessible. The majority of clients arrive by foot; others come on bicycles, with walkers and canes, on motorized scooters or wheelchairs, and with small children in wagons. Of the very few who arrive by vehicle, many are elderly or have mobility issues. The food bank vehicle traffic is a small fraction of that of the adjacent Mint Hair Design, employees of the businesses on James Street, and visitors to the condominium next door. The statement that the food bank clients are, “taking up the entire street,” is simply not true.
He states, “Nobody seems to care, but the citizens of Garden Street.” Well some of us do care, but not as Mr. Henderson does. I grow food for the bank and occasionally donate. Mint Hair Design cares. Last year they hosted a sidewalk open house with four chairs open to anyone who wanted a free professional styling or beard trim. The transformations were inspiring.
The food bank clients I chat with mirror the same spectrum of individuals you meet at the hockey rink, the grocery store, the mall. That is why I find most egregious Mr. Henderson’s statement, “Not to mention the type of persons this outlet attracts regularly.” I have never heard or seen a police incident at the food bank, though some may have occurred. But to disparage an entire group of people by the actions of one or two individuals is Trumpism at its worst.
And to finish on a positive note, the sidewalks and lane around the food bank are probably the cleanest in the neighbourhood. By 8 a.m. staff are out sweeping and do so all day. My only complaint is that I don’t get to taste the delicious soup I know they are preparing when the tantalizing aroma wafts my way.