News

Holiday food drive heats up

If everybody in the Tri-Cities donated a can of food, a box of pasta, a bag of rice, a carton of juice or even a can of cranberries, the food bank might have enough to fill hampers for Christmas and stock shelves for the winter months.  - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
If everybody in the Tri-Cities donated a can of food, a box of pasta, a bag of rice, a carton of juice or even a can of cranberries, the food bank might have enough to fill hampers for Christmas and stock shelves for the winter months.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

If everybody in the Tri-Cities donated a can of food, a box of pasta, a bag of rice, a carton of juice or even a can of cranberries, the food bank might have enough to fill hampers for Christmas and stock shelves for the winter months.

Do the math, says Share Family and Community Services fund development manager Heather Scott. Share will need 10,000 of every food item just to keep up with current demand, plus make sure there’s enough for holiday hampers and maintain supplies for the next few months.

“The key message is to ask people to be extra generous, because there are more families who need help, and if people can make a donation every time they grocery shop there will always be enough.”

Here’s why donating to the food bank is even more important now than ever: there has been a 30% increase in the number of people who use the food bank since 2008 and where Share used to collect enough food to fill holiday hampers and stock shelves in December, now that’s not so easy because of the huge increase in demand.

Last year, for example, holiday hampers had fewer items than in previous years even though they have to last three weeks instead of the usual two because Share closes for a week at Christmas.

Winter supplies were also down and Share has been playing catch up ever since, Scott says.

“We don’t have surplus in the food bank to help supplement those Christmas hampers, and that’s why we are asking for food from schools to come early, but what that’s going to do is leave us in a challenging situation for next year,” Scott explained.

This is what’s needed. Share needs food to fill 1,800 Christmas hampers, including specialty items such as cranberry sauce, canned hams and other treats by Dec. 12 and 13. That’s earlier than usual but the hampers have to be packed and either picked up or delivered by Dec. 16 and 17. If you want to make sure those hampers have a few extra holiday goodies and are big enough to last three weeks, make sure you donate at your grocery store, school or the Port Moody food bank (2615 Clarke St.) right away.

If you make your donation closer to Christmas, don’t worry, your food will be stored for the winter and help feed 800 families that get their food from the food bank every two weeks (400 families a week, alternating weeks).

Scott said thousands of packages and containers of all food groups are needed such as cans of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish; as well as thousands of jars of peanut butter, jam, spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce; thousands of packages of pasta and rice and boxes of juice and cereal, and financial contributions are also appreciated.

“If they want to come out to any of the events held in support of Share, we’re collecting food for that as well,” Scott said, adding that upcoming food drives include a special event at the Save-On-Foods at Pinetree Village on Dec. 13, and the CPR Holiday Train in Port Moody on Dec. 17.

For more information, visit www.sharesociety.ca

• Volunteers are also needed to help out with Share’s fundraising gift-wrap booth from now until Dec. 24. To help out, call Heather Stacey at 604-540-9161.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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