Lance, Irene and Kiefer's Story

This is the story of a young family that have become regulars at The Table, which they kindly agreed to share so others could understand the impact that The Table has in our community.

Lance, Irene and their young boy Kiefer, two and a half, started making use of The Table’s programs not long after moving to the area from Victoria. Moving had taken up most of their financial resources and they were feeling pinched. It took them some time to find their way to The Table, going first to a food bank in a larger centre for some support. They told me that their experience there was “night and day from what we experience at The Table. It was all canned goods and no fresh stuff. We wanted to avoid it.”

Lance planned on returning to work in the Alberta oil patch and began commuting from Perth after their move, but then the oil prices plummeted and soon he was out of work. The young family owns a rural home, and they are trying to reduce their food costs by growing much of their own food… but that only gets them so far. After Lance became unemployed, their ability to hold on to the home was in jeopardy.  Lance told me that “if we didn’t have The Table we might have lost our home”. That’s how tough it was for them with food prices and other basic costs on the rise.

Neither Lance nor Irene consider themselves to be great cooks but Irene learnt some new techniques and recipes by volunteering with Judy, our Community Chef. She wanted to give back for everything she’d received from The Table but she wasn’t in a position to do it financially; volunteering made that possible.  Now Irene is more comfortable in the kitchen and cooking from scratch. Unfortunately for us, she isn’t able to volunteer regularly now that she is working in a local restaurant. But she still helps when she can. On a recent busy night, Irene jumped up from the table where she was having supper to pitch in with the dishes and helped keep the whole meal on track.

As much as they enjoy and appreciate the food, both Irene and Lance told us how important the social aspect of being at The Table was for them, and for little Kiefer. Common social meeting places like restaurants, pubs and even the hockey rink are hard to access for people living on low incomes. As Lance put it “If you don’t have money, good luck socializing“. They appreciate getting their son out into a dynamic and social environment and the opportunity to meet people over a meal, whether that is a stranger or a friend. When asked to describe The Table in a few words Irene's response was..“warm, home, community; it embraces you”.

Lance, Irene and Kiefer are just three of the over two-thousand people impacted by The Table’s programs each year.