Food Banker Spotlight – Tristan Newsome, Food Bank Society of Whitehorse

We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Tristan Newsome from the Food Bank Society of Whitehorse in Whitehorse, Yukon.

What is your role in food banking?
I am Executive Director of the Food Bank Society of Whitehorse. As Executive Director, I direct all of the programing and operations of the organization.

Describe a typical day in one word.

What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
My food banking journey began shortly after graduating from university. As a new graduate with no professional experience, volunteering seemed like a good place to start. I was fortunate enough to volunteer under an executive director who gave me a chance at managing the food bank’s distribution program. After working with some amazing volunteers and experiencing their commitment to fighting poverty, I decided to begin working full-time at the food bank.

What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
My biggest achievements was reducing expenses while expanding programming to meet the growing need in our community.

What is the greatest challenge in your current role?
Finding the right balance of volunteers can be difficult. You want to make sure there are enough people to effectively handle operations while ensuring there aren’t too many volunteers that they feel their contribution is unnecessary or wasted. With client usage unpredictable at times, this can be a huge challenge.

If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada, what would it be?
My “genie in a bottle” wish would be that everyone had access to the Elvish bread from Lord of the Rings that fills your stomach. My realistic wish is that Canadians become inspired to end hunger – a massive grassroots effort that grows into a national non-partisan movement dedicated to eradicating hunger in Canada. Provincial, Territorial, and Federal governments hear the cry and policy is immediately passed, resulting in concrete programming initiatives on the ground.

What talent would you most like to have?
Mental math. I do a lot of accounting work in my position and being able to quickly calculate taxes and percentages in my head would be incredibly useful. As it stands, I need a calculator for almost everything.

If you could tell your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, or how they’re doing it. People recognize hard work and dedication, keep it up and you’ll be just fine.

Who are your heroes? Fictional or real life.
I really admire people like Keanu Reeves. You’ve got this superstar who donates a lot of his money to charity and despite his status, still rides the subway, happily giving his seat to others. I guess the admirable qualities there are kindness and an unassuming nature. Imagine if everyone was like that? Especially those with influence.

What is your idea of happiness?
Having absolutely nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon.

What is your motto?
There is a lot of time in a day; when you feel overwhelmed just remember that 24 hours is longer than you think, so get to it.

What’s something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I get really attached to inanimate objects. I had to throw a dead plant out last year and it was really difficult. I still think about that plant.

What’s your theme song?
“Bank Robber” by The Clash. I don’t plan on robbing any banks, I just really like that song.

Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at