DEER LAKE — Pearl King is modest about the accolade she and her husband Sam recently received.
The couple opened the Deer Lake Food Bank 16 years ago in the basement of their Sixth Avenue home. And, at the opening of the Humber Valley Agricultural Fair the Kings each received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for their work.
“It was great to be recognized and the medals are beautiful,” said Pearl. “But it wasn’t just us, we’ve had the support of the community all along, and we have a lot of volunteers that are responsible for this too.”
The food bank has grown over the years to the point where it eventually had to relocate to its current location at Church Street and Main Street, and currently helps between 40 and 50 families per month.
Sam shares his wife’s sense of modesty.
“If it weren’t for the community (the food bank) wouldn’t exist,” he said. “They treat us really good.”
In fact, Pearl said, most of the food bank’s donations actually come from local residents, either during various food drives throughout the year or from drop-offs. There have been challenges in recent years, such as the downtown in the economy in 2008, but Pearl said the residents of Deer Lake always managed to help out.
“There’s other people that could have got this award, but we’re very grateful,” she said. “We’re grateful for the people who have filled in for us as well.”
Last fall, Sam had to go to Nova Scotia for seven weeks due to heart problems, to this day his heart is operating at a very low capacity and is in need of a pacemaker. While they were gone, Pearl said, the food bank was still open for business and run very well, for which the couple are eternally grateful.
The Kings were nominated by Humber Valley MHA Dwight Ball, who also presented them with their awards. Ball said the Kings were very deserving candidates.
“Their achievements in organizing and maintaining the food bank have been recognized as a significant, positive impact on their community and the people of the region,” he said.
“This couple deserved recognition, they are humble and spend many hours per week physically operating the food bank along with their team of volunteers.”
Pearl said the food bank is now gearing up for its next food drive, which is expected to take place in late October.