This summer, while volunteering at Southeast Helping Hands, Isi Masi, of Island Breeze found out that there was an urgent need to clean up the warehouse.

Masi says, “The Food Bank had a bit of an emergency. They needed to move all the food out of the warehouse. We wiped everything down. We had time. So, we just stepped in there and said, ‘yeah, we'll do this for you guys’ and we were happy to do it.”

Hank Klassen, Board Chair for Southeast Helping HandsHank Klassen with Southeast Helping Hands calls the Island Breeze volunteers, ‘Ambassadors’, Klassen continues, “I can’t believe it. That we were fortunate that we could get them to get involved.”

Klassen confirms the situation was dire and says, “some little rodents had made their way into the warehouse.”  When Klassen and the Food Bank staff made this discovery at the beginning of July, they figured, “If we’re going to do something, then let’s clean it all out. Clean everything off and then put everything back in. Island Breeze did that for us.”

It took the local YWAM volunteers about 3 ½ weeks to get the warehouse in tip-top shape. They wiped down every cereal box, tin can and crate that holds their non-perishables. They scrubbed the floors and washed the walls. It was what Klassen calls, “a monumental task, but they (Island Breeze) never backed down. Always smiling and happy.”

He continues, “Considering that I've been volunteering for 40 years, I've never come across people that are that generous with their time and happiness, always smiling and it was just first class. “

Isi Masi was just as quick to hand the compliments back to the staff and volunteers at Southeast Helping Hands and says, “because we’ve spent the past couple of weeks there (Food Bank), we’ve noticed the amazing work they do. The

Island Breeze volunteers clean and sanitize everything that was in the warehouse amount of organizing that needs to happen from the moment a donation is made to when it’s packed in a hamper. Those guys work very hard. It can be a challenge to keep everything organized, but somehow, they do it!”

When asked what does this deep-clean mean for Southeast Helping Hands Food Bank going forward, Klassen replies,

“Well, this means that we can organize the new stuff that we can get in. We can put it in our inventory and we’ll know its whereabouts. And we’ll be able to rotate through our donations and make sure that no obsolete items go out.”

As for receiving donations this year, Klassen says, it’s been slow when it comes to gardening produce. He understands that farmers and gardeners have had a tough year. As for other donations, it’s been pretty good.

Helping Hands hampers get handed out every other Wednesday, twice a month to approximately 320 families. Klassen suggests to “multiply that number by 4 1/2. That's how many mouths we're feeding each Hamper pick-up day.”

As for their Fall Food Drive event, Klassen says they are planning on hosting a Concert in the KR Barkman park featuring Island Breeze, where guests can come enjoy great music and admission is by donation. A “Tin for the Bin” or cash for the Southeast Helping Hands Food Bank.