Penny Church

Banking on a little help

Sometimes those who give back to the community need a hand, too

Penny Church is a regular food bank user.

“It’s always helpful. There are times when it’s critical,” she said.

The 62-year-old Brentwood Bay woman isn’t what some might picture as the person who needs help filling the cupboards. She’s regular volunteer at Beacon Community Services thrift store in her community, where they’re able to work around her special circumstances.

As a parent, Church worked herself tired, taking on as many jobs as necessary to make sure her three children and one foster daughter were well cared for. A single parent, she worked in tourism, restaurants and management.

“I stretched a dime into a dollar many times,” she said. “I didn’t think about me until it was too late.”

As children left the nest and Church anticipated taking her skills and travelling for work, she was struck down. An inflammation disorder took more than her mobility – it damaged her pride.

“It was hard,” she said of that first visit to the food bank years ago. “You’ve always been independent and survived single-parenthood and all of a sudden you’re basically crippled.”

She’s among the 400 or so people who get a little extra at Christmas through the Sidney Lions Hamper Program. The Sidney Lions Club manages the program and the food bank to feed those in need across the Peninsula.

“The little piece of cheese we get every month is such a treat and it’s nice to get the dozen eggs, because those are two expensive things that you might not buy,” she says.

But Church is always looking forward. Three years ago she got what was to be the solution to her disability: knee replacement. Though it’s not “mind-numbing pain” there is still pain. With the high cost of living here, she sees a move to Nova Scotia as her solution.

“It seems the most achievable.”


You can help

• Donate to the Sidney Lions Food Bank at the Christmas Hamper Depot, 2388 Beacon Ave.

• The Peninsula News Review is also accepting non-perishable food donations at 9843 Second St.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney blocks off parking spaces to create more sidewalk

Additional measures to create more outdoor space for restaurants and cafe on way

Bear spotted walking on McKenzie Avenue sidewalk in Saanich

Urban sightings prompt warnings from Saanich Police Department

Renowned Oak Bay floral arranger debuts first book

Instagram star Christin Geall combines photography, floral arrangements

National drive-by art show rolls in Victoria on Saturday

Map shows drivers where local artists have set up displays in windows, balconies, driveways

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read