What do you do when someone calls you up and says, I have a million dollars and I want you to put together 1,700 food hampers for needy Indigenous families in the Whitehorse, Yukon area and we need it done in a short time frame? First off I guess I would say why me and then I would ask why don’t you contact a grocery outlet in the Whitehorse area?
Well, that’s not what the staff at B.V. Wholesale said. They said,” Bring it on.”
And so began a crazy, hectic, amazing two-week stretch in early December. Seems the Patterson Food Group just outdid themselves and opened all the stops. This donation had been tried before at Save On Foods in Whitehorse where they put together 400 hampers. There is no other place that can handle 1,700 hampers and B.V. Wholesale jumped at the opportunity to give it a try.
Manager Amber White and husband Corey along with Assistant Manager Diane Adomeit combined forces to make this project happen. We’re talking four boxes in each hamper, one dry, one dairy, one frozen and one produce. Each hamper valued out at $533.
Trucks started arriving the first week bringing food products that had to be unloaded, separated and categorized. If that wasn’t enough, the supplies had to be stored to make up the 1,700 hampers. As the next truck arrived it was also unloaded and then reloaded with completed hampers to be delivered to Whitehorse. This seems to be a logistic nightmare and it was.
B.V. Wholesale had to borrow an empty Bandstra trailer to store up to 16 skids at a time while waiting for the continuation of supplies and dispersal. 6,800 camp boxes were pressed into service, that’s right, 6,800. I would have to ask where would anyone come up with 6,800 boxes anyways.
“Our team was amazing,” said Amber. “This is just the kind of project we want to get involved in. We want to give back.”
Everyone was stoked.
“We set up assembly lines and started singing as we tossed 5kg bags of flour to each other,” said Diane. “It was actually emotional as we all pitched in, managers and staff together. Amber said the whole project consumed 82 hours. Some staff worked 12-hour days and others came in on their days off.
“This store is like that,” says Amber. “We have a unique relationship with our customers as we connect with them through food. Our camp orders are pulled by people who may not know the individual workers in camp but they know what the workers need, good food and that’s what we supply. We are also connected with our local distributors, Rugged Edge, Bandstra, and several Heli companies as we work together to keep food on the table so to speak.
“This is a project that B.V. Wholesale people can be proud of. We were challenged and we delivered. And we are prepared to do it again next year if called upon.”
What a feel-good Christmas story from a local Bulkley Valley company.
Thanks Amber for this story and a big shout out to all the staff for their dedication and hard work to pull this off along with another shout-out to the Patterson Food Group and all the transporters for making it happen.
Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year.