Every great movement, every impactful event, has occurred out of a place of pain, of crisis. Think of Terry Fox and his decision, despite his cancer diagnosis, to run across the country and raise awareness. Out of his sacrifice, greatness has come. Funds have been raised, awareness has abounded and some cancers are curable. All thanks to one courageous man with one courageous decision.
So too is the story of the birth of The People’s Pantry. It’s a story that begins in a moment of extreme crisis and pain. A moment of destitution and hunger. But a moment when one singular person made one choice out of sheer desperation.
That moment occurred when one woman with a 9 month old baby and three other children of varying ages, walked into her husbands den and found him in a state of overdose. To what she did not know, but the minutes and knowledge that followed, as grisly and grotesque as it was, became the birthing of the People’s Pantry.
What followed can only be described as a synergy of events. The man went into hospital from there into a recovery home. We would like to say that from this point on all is well that ends well, but that was not to be the fate of this family. However, it was through this that connections were made and an event that should have been the undoing became one of blessing.
This mother was now in crisis. She was faced with four children to feed, one but an infant, and a husband that was in recovery, lucky to have his life let alone anything else. Barely able to manage rent, she often faced the choice between shelter and food. However, through the recovery home, she was able to access bread. Bread that the recovery home had in abundance, and was more than willing to give to her instead of direct it to a landfill. Bread from Cobs Bread.
Every Thursday at 7 pm, this mother would drive to the recovery home where she would pick up three to five garbage sized bags of bread. She would bring them home and, with the three older children would together juggle attending to the baby and bagging the bread into individual bags. Very quickly, she realized that there was far more bread than she and hers could consume. This mother was connected to a network of other single mothers who also struggled with the same issue: shelter or food? And so began the “Bread Program!”
Realizing that she had an abundance, this mother decided to share the wealth. Four times a month, her and her children would gather together, pick up the bread, and then package it into individual bags. And four times a month, she would fill her trunk and go to two different, preset locations, open her trunk and stay there for an hour or two, so other single mothers could access the bread she was blessed to be able to receive. One moment of hungry desperation. One singular decision. One non-profit society. One great movement.
Alice Hale – Board Chair
Alice is a seasoned business leader and Marketer leading high-functioning teams in the energy, transportation and banking sectors. A Coquitlam resident of over 30 years, she and her husband have raised their 3 daughters, instilling in them the importance of volunteering. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Concordia), MBA (University of Western Ontario, Ivey School of Business), and a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. Alice brings a wide range of volunteer experience including Past Chair of the Coquitlam Public Library Board; Past Chair of the Crossroads Hospice Society; Committee member of the Coquitlam Sustainability and Environmental Advisory Committee; Member of BC Institute of Agrologists Investigations and Credentials committees; Director, Crossroads Hospice Foundation; Resource Volunteer, Coquitlam Search and Rescue; and Team Manager, Draggin’ Divas dragon boat team. Alice has a strong passion around food recovery and a lifelong commitment to reducing food waste in landfills. In her spare time, Alice enjoys running, hiking, dragon boating, cycling, traveling and spending time with her family and 2 dogs. Alice is committed to sharing her skills and experience to support the Society in the delivery of these valuable services to the community.
Kristie de Jong – Director
Founding member of The People’s Pantry, Kristie de Jong is a single mom of 4 residing in Port Coquitlam. Kristie has been a long time Port Coquitlam resident moving here when she was just 5 years of age. As a single mother she knows intimately the struggles of food security and as a result has become passionate about ensuring that single mothers and their children have ease in obtaining quality food and nutriution. Apart from her volunteer efforts with the People’s Pantry, Kristie is a clincial counselor specializing in trauma and crisis response. Her professional knowledge of the importance of quality nutrtion fuels her passion for this cause as she knows how crucial nutrition is for mental wellness. Apart from working and volunteering, Kristie enjoys quality time spent with her four children, as well as enjoying such hobbies as photography and things of a creative bent.
Tiffany Laurie – Director
Tiffany is the Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs and Assistant Corporate Secretary for a prominent Canadian entertainment company. With a background in corporate governance, she has developed a passion for responsible business practices and social responsibility.
In addition to her work in corporate governance, Tiffany has volunteered her time and resources to a number of charitable causes both in Canada and abroad. While in the Cayman Islands, Tiffany worked with the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, a non-profit organization that provides support and shelter to survivors of domestic violence. In Dubai, she provided aid to laborers through a company called Helping Hands UAE by baking and decorating cakes as a small way to show appreciation for their hard work and sacrifice.
Tiffany is driven by a desire for justice and social change and believes that by working together, we can create a better and more equitable future for everyone.
Natalie Cuthill – Director
Natalie Cuthill is a lawyer working as in-house legal counsel for a municipality. Previously, Natalie worked as a lawyer in private practice for a national law firm and then a regional management-side workplace law firm. Natalie specializes in labour and employment law, including human rights and privacy. Natalie obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology, Marketing and Communications from McGill University, and her law degree from the University of Alberta. Natalie grew up on the North Shore and currently lives in North Vancouver. Natalie is passionate about supporting charities and organizations who focus on shelter and food security, and is excited to be joining the Board of People’s Pantry. Outside of work, Natalie enjoys trail walks with her puppy (Marty), cross-country skiing, her newest sport – downhill skiing, and spending time with her friends and family.
Glenn Pollock – Vice Chair
Glenn is probably best known in Port Coquitlam for his many years playing and coaching lacrosse, coaching hockey and supporting local sport. Glenn’s volunteer efforts, often in collaboration with his wife Christine, mirrored their family life through the years and included volunteering at schools and coaching sports teams as their three boys grew up. Glenn now enjoys time with his four grandchildren, Lily, Charlie, Hayden and Ruby.
A resident of Port Coquitlam since 1982, Glenn grew up in Trail and developed an interest in broadcast journalism when working as a radio station DJ as a teenager. He later earned a degree in broadcast journalism from BCIT, but ultimately chose a career with the schedule and stability that suited his roles of dedicated father and community volunteer. After being employed with Safeway for 30+ years in shipping and receiving, he now serves as an aide to a provincial MLA. He has also worked security for sports and entertainment events over the years.
Glenn’s other volunteer efforts have included helping the Mother Hastings Emmanuelle Society feed the homeless in Vancouver. He currently plays on the Tri City Masters Field Lacrosse League and coaches tyke lacrosse. Glenn also served on various City committees related to sports and recreation, and received a City of Port Coquitlam Volunteer Recognition Award in 2004.
Garnet Ravenstein – Treasurer Garnet is a long-time Port Coquitlam resident and a CPA and partner at a Burnaby CPA firm advising owner managed business and their owners. The Peoples Pantry has opened his eyes to the amount of food being thrown out every day. When not working Garnet enjoys spending time with his wife, adult children and hitting the hiking trails with the family dogs. Garnet looks forward to helping the society meet its goals to reduce food waste and in turn help feed those in need.
Jayeson Shaffer – Board Secretary
Jason has his Master of Education Counselling and Bachelor of Social Work degrees, and is a Registered Social Worker in the Province of British Columbia.
Jayeson retired in 2017 after 25 years in Social Work and Counselling: as a Concurrent Disorders Therapist for Fraser Health Authority in Community Mental Health and Substance Use Services; as member of specialized mental health teams in BC; and with Alcohol and Drug Services. He has experience in clinical social work with a wide variety of clients having worked with a number of other professionals as team members, including Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurses, Registered Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Vocational Rehabilitation Therapists, Recreation Therapists, Alcohol and Drug counsellors, various agencies as well as Inpatient and Outpatient treatment facilities. He also taught for colleges and UNBC.
During his full time employment he regularly presented to professional and public audiences on many topics, including utilization of Employee Assistance Programs, substance abuse, mental health, and more.
Jayeson enjoys walks with his wife and their dog, time with his family, arts and entertainment.
Jayeson maintains his private practice office in Port Coquitlam, BC.
Jackie Gorton – Board Member
Jackie is a Board Director and Senior Executive with diverse experience as a Finance professional, an IT Executive, and an Enterprise Risk Management leader. A collegial influencer, able to build partnerships and align interests across organizations, she has experience on both sides of the Board table, as a senior team member reporting in and as a Board member providing strategic direction, governance and oversight. She has led teams through organizational stress, both in times of rapid growth and in market contraction. Jackie is a CPA/CA and has an MBA and BSc Computing Science (SFU). She has lived in Coquitlam since 1990, raising her family and volunteering her time in the community. She and her family are very active, enjoying a wide range of sports and travel adventures. Jackie has a keen interest in circular economics and systems of living and working that do not degrade the environment and, at the same time, enhance human flourishing. The model of People’s Pantry Food Recovery Society—to reclaim food that would otherwise be discarded and use it for the benefit of individuals and families faced with food insecurity—is a great example of a beneficial circle and she is delighted to be a part of the Board team.
Peter Hayman – Executive Director
Peter brings over twenty years of executive director experience in the non-profit and media sector. He recently served as Executive Director for The International Cinematographers Guild while living in his Belcarra home where he would often see bears on the deck and seals by the dock. He is an alumnus of Queens University, York University and UCLA. His commitment to the environment began while filming an IMAX movie about humpback whales and sharks, leading to his instant advocacy for ocean preservation. His commitment to food recovery began when he discovered that the world wastes about 2.5 billion metric tons of food annually.
He has been devoted to lowering that number ever since.
A seasoned business leader with a marketing background on both the agency and client side, his appreciation for volunteering was fostered while producing large events for both broadcasters and charities that were powered by hundreds of committed volunteers. Currently, Peter takes great joy in finding creative ways to constantly remind his four grown children (and anyone else who will listen) about the differences between best before and non-consumable. He is dedicated to turning wasting into tasting for people in need.
TK (Tara-Kelly) Andrews – Operations Coordinator
TK has spent the last ten years as a full-time student while being a full-time single mom. She went back to school to gain more skills in order to carve out a new path in life for her and her kids. TK holds a BA in Applied Psychology, a BA in Applied Criminology and an Advanced Certificate in Disability and Applied Behaviour Analysis. TK joined The People’s Pantry family in August of 2020 with a desire to support, advocate and give back to her community.
If your organization would like to be involved, please contact us to start the conversation.
The People’s Pantry welcomes volunteers seeking to help our community. If you’d like to help, we welcome you to reach out.