Zero Waste Food Reclamation Project with Village Food Market

phc-zero-wasteThe Food Bank is embarking on a new adventure and we need your help!

We are grateful to Village Food Market (VFM) for partnering with us to save their produce they can no longer sell. They are donating their unsold produce to the Food Bank. This is a beneficial partnership for the community and the planet!

Volunteers needed daily for the following tasks:

  • Pick up produce at VFM and drop it off at PHC
  • Sort produce for human consumption, animal consumption and compost

We are very excited to help divert good food to those who need it.

If you can help with this project, please contact the Food Bank Coordinator Sacha: or 250-247-7322.

Help at Home listings

helpathomeThe Help At Home directory is now available on this website, and print copies are available at PHC Seniors Resource Centre, open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The directory includes listings of services available on Gabriola (and some off-Gabriola ones, too) for anyone who finds themselves in need of support in their own home.

We’d like your help to keep these listings up to date. If you know of services that aren’t listed, or want information on categories of help that we don’t yet have, let us know! If information about any of the listings is incorrect, please send us a correction.

Click here to connect to an update form to suggest changes.

Suicide Matters

Article by:  Amy Block

Sometimes people who suffer from depression lose the will to live. It’s time we begin to explore ways in which we, as a Gabriola community, can help others get through those times when loneliness, destitution and helplessness overwhelm.

Research, as quoted by Bonnie Bernard, a specialist in resiliency, tells us clearly that

Resilience is a process of connectedness of linking to people, to interests, and ultimately to life itself.

So how can we as a community do better at helping each other make and maintain connectedness and the will to live?

A member of our community recently committed suicide. A group of people gathered together at the Commons and shared grief and emotional responses to the tragedy.

Involved in the group discussion, I was amazed at the profundity of the sharing exchange.

One participant stated,

“When I’m feeling down and depressed I don’t like asking for help. I know I need to get better at that. There are others who are there for me, and that’s exactly what I need. I know, ideally, that I’m not alone and yet, I’m ashamed. I don’t want to be needy and I don’t want to ‘dump’ on others.”

Someone else said,

“I find it is really simple. One time someone listened to me. He didn’t try to ‘fix’ my situation. All he said was, “I’m so sorry.” That was so healing for me. I was just heard. That was important.”

Margaret Wheatley, a writer and consultant in Organizational Behaviour says,

“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.”

Bonnie Benard writes that

“we can walk around trouble if there is some place to walk to and someone to walk with.”

There are many of us here on Gabriola who understand the need for connectedness. We are everywhere…your next door neighbours, friends and family. We are here in the village and in the library. We’re in your friendship circles, members of your family, and participants in community organizations. There can always be someone who will listen.

Let’s Talk – it gets better.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, here are some important numbers to note:

  • 911 – First responders in a crisis situation.
  • PHC Circle of Care: 250-247-7311
    Low or no-cost counselling for those in need.
  • Your own family doctor.
  • Walk-In Clinic at Brooks Landing Mall: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
  • Island Health Mental Health and Addictions Clinic, Nanaimo: 250-739-5710.
  • Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888
    Telephone support, information and referrals 24 hrs. 7 days a week.
  • Online Crisis Chat for all ages
    6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Youth Crisis Line: 1-800-668-6868.
  • Help Line for Children: 250-310-1234.

Suicide Matters

Steve’s path took him from a strong spiritual background to one where he just couldn’t find comfort any longer in God. He describes a period in his life when he felt most alone, helpless and lost.

When I lost everything, my place became ripped from underneath me. Everything happened at once. I lost it all. My dad passed and my mom went shortly after that. My partner left me almost at the same time. At that point I didn’t feel alive anyway. I had nothing to live for anymore.

I got angry and belligerent and acted badly. Nothing mattered. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. I wanted to take control of my own life. I spent about a year living on the street. It was really bad. I prayed to go “home.”

Then, after a time immersed in a drug-induced numbing, Steve began to recognize that the answers to a better life were already within him. No longer seeking excuses from his outside world, he began to search within.

I started to ask the right questions: “Why did she actually leave me?” “What am I doing to cause these troubles?” “What can I do to change?”

I changed the way I look at the world. I knew that the answers were already inside of me. I started to take responsibility for my own behaviours.

Steve now attends regular AA meetings and makes sure to be involved in reaching out to others who need support.

I have so much knowledge and experience to share with others. I don’t want young people to go through the same things that I went through. I can be helpful by staying creative and seeking ways of breaking through roadblocks when they arise.

I’m here for a long time to come. I have learned that it’s definitely not my time to go “home.” I have a strong spiritual connection now and engage with others. I wish I’d been on this track throughout my life, but I suppose I’ve had to learn it the hard way.

Like Steve…let’s all just keep talking… it does get better.

Save the Date: PHC Hunger Awareness Food Bank Campaign

Hunger Awareness Week is May 5-9, 2014

Next week is Food Banks Canada annual Hunger Awareness Week to raise awareness about hunger across our Nation.

PHC has created their own week long fundraising campaign with the goal of raising money and food to fill up the food bank shelves.

Food Banks Canada states that nearly 850,000 Canadians will visit a food bank for assistance this month alone. Of those, 36 per cent are children.

PHC gives out 18 tons of food annually to Gabriola residents in need.

“You don’t have to go far to see that hunger is something that is also a local concern. There are many working people and families struggling to make ends meet day to day”, says Sacha Petersen. “PHC food bank tries to help people stretch their money each week by offering a small boost to their cupboards and we are always grateful for the support we receive from our community”.

Our most needed food donations are:

  • canned fish or meat
  • canned beans, veggies, and fruit
  • pasta
  • juice boxes,
  • soup
  • rice
  • peanut- free lunch snacks
  • fresh fruit and veggies
  • boxed meals
  • oats

Here is how you can help PHC meet their fundraising goal during Hunger Awareness Week:

Monday & Tuesday:

100 Gabriolans can buy a little extra food and drop off donations at PHC.

Wednesday & Thursday:

200 Gabriolans can pack a brown bag lunch and donate their savings to PHC.


300 Gabriolans can become monthly donors.
To become a monthly donor go to .


400 Gabriolans can help “Fill the Truck”
May 10th from 10-2pm at the Folklife Village parking lot

About Hunger Awareness Week

Hunger Awareness Week was created to provide food banks with an opportunity to educate about the reality of hunger in Canada and to encourage all Canadians to make a choice to help those in need.  Close to 850,000 individuals turn to food banks for support each month, and close to 2 million Canadians are food insecure, struggling with not knowing where their next meal may come from.  Today, more than 800 food banks and 2,900 affiliated agencies work in communities across the country to assist Canadians in need.


Suicide Matters

Suicide Matters - Let s talk, it gets better
Suicide Matters – Let’s talk, it gets better

By Elisabeth Gillies, 

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a bad night.” 

~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
Beyond Good and Evil 

Suicide is an option. Allow it to be that. But as with any matter in life, it is prudent to give equal attention to more than one option.

As a young, recently hired assistant in a busy city of Edinburgh psychology department, I was given the task of cataloguing a personal library of one of the psychologists. The collection was to be donated to the teaching hospital. Earlier in the week the psychologist had opted out of her profession and out of her life. While I cannot recall the details of her suicide and had never met her in person, I recall a strong sense of empathy, felt simply by handling each one of her books. Continue reading Suicide Matters

It’s Garden time at PHC

PHC Gabriola GardensGardens, everyone is starting to buzz about their gardens!

At PHC we have an amazing garden program that everyone is welcome to participate in. Our gardens produce healthy organic food for the food bank.

There are lots of hands on jobs that volunteers can help with during garden season. If you are interested in helping please leave a message for Sacha (food bank and gardens coordinator) @ 250-247-7322.

We can always use some tools to help us tend to the gardens. If you have tools that you are wanting to lend to this fantastic program, let’s talk!

Also if there is anyone who is willing to start and care for starter plants until they are ready to be planted please contact Sacha.