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New Brunswick

Photographer Weekes captures a spirit of giving at the Oromocto Food Bank

Published by CBC Communications

I’ve never had a direct link to food insecurity, but I know families that use food banks and some that even “dumpster dive”, partly because of the enormous waste generated by our supermarkets and partly because of circumstance.

The issue of food insecurity led me to apply for – and receive – a grant from the Canada Council that will allow me to start my own “every person project” about how we shop for our groceries.

Ball cap man with gray mustache unloading sacks of groceries from back of van.
Ronald Rowney loads bags of donations from a van into the Oromocto Food Bank. (Gary Weekes)

So being assigned to work at the Oromocto Food Bank provided an incredible opportunity to see “another side” of this ever-growing concern that affects us all.

Jane Buckley, Managing Director of the Food Bank, leads a team of enthusiastic volunteers, mostly retired people with a dash of students and a few others who are still employed.

Man in glasses and bullet cap looking through a shelf of groceries in the grocery bank.  Black & White photo.
Howard Baird unpacks a load of food donations at the Oromocto Food Bank. (Gary Weekes)

What they present is a well-oiled and nurturing machine where each volunteer knows their role and the good they are doing as a result. I was immediately welcomed, which made my conversations and information search easier. My photos show the effort and coordination required to provide good food to those in need.

Behind a camera, I’m usually detached from the events around me, but seeing the incredible amounts of food that would normally be wasted being put to good use brought a tear to my eyes.

The hope that is in every food box, backpack and Christmas present made possible by the Oromocto Food Bank shows that no one should be without it.

I learned a lot from this experience.

Woman in blue shirt with glasses holding shopping bag surrounded by donated toys.
Part of the Oromocto Food Bank will be transformed into “Santa’s Workshop” as hundreds of toy food baskets are delivered during the holiday season. Lorraine Dawe sorts some of the donations. (Gary Weekes)
Two older men reach into the back of a van and unload bags and boxes of groceries for the food bank.  (Black & White photo)
Arthur Hudlin, left, and Jack Harris unload a truckload of donated food. (Gary Weekes)
Woman kneels while unpacking boxes of groceries.  Only the top part of her brown haired head can be seen.
Julia Wamboldt unpacks food boxes. (Gary Weekes)
Elderly woman wearing a hairnet and glasses, a striped sweater and an arpon preparing food at the table.
Oromocto Food Bank volunteer Carol Stanley prepares an order. (Gary Weekes)
Woman with braided hair bends over a box of groceries at a blackboard and unpacks the box.  Black & White photo.
Volunteer Julia Wamboldt prepares baskets for Christmas orders at the Oromocto Food Bank. (Gary Weekes)
Young woman with a big smile and sports glasses stands in front of a box with groceries at the blackboard.
Kaitlin Hanson volunteers at the Oromocto Food Bank. (Gary Weekes)
Young male college student wearing ball cap and hoodie chopping mushrooms on a counter in a blackboard.
Graham Gardiner cuts vegetables for an order at the Oromocto Food Bank. He is among many students who volunteer weekly. (Gary Weekes)
Or-woman, gray hair, with hairnet, holding a bouquet of green grapes and preparing an order at the table.
Debbie Maksymnuk is busy preparing baskets for delivery. (Gary Weekes)

Portraits of Kindness is a visual project in which CBC Atlantic commissions photographers to visit their local food bank and capture acts of kindness through their lens. The project coincides with that of CBC Do a seasonal child campaign in support of food banks in Atlantic Canada.

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