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Food bank needs a fill-up
The Share food bank is down to less than a few weeks' worth of food, with supplies expected to drop even lower with the start of school this week.
PriceSmart Foods in Coquitlam is hoping the community will come out to re-stock the shelves through to December with a Food Bank Fill Up on Friday. Donations of cash and/or food can be dropped off at the Pinetree Village store (formerly Save-On Foods). Pre-packaged hampers, priced at $10 and $15, can also be purchased.
"It's a really important event for us," said Martin Wyant, Share's CEO. "Like all of the other food banks in the Lower Mainland this year, we've all been struggling and we've seen our numbers continue to grow."
Share provides relief for at least 900 Tri-City families every two weeks; of the recipients, 43% are children. Those numbers are nearly 60% higher than they were just four to five years ago, when the economic crash hit, Wyant said.
"It's never levelled off," he added. "We had a significant bump in that recession and every year since then, it's just continued to grow, so we need to lean on the community even more than we have. Every year we're just trying to keep pace with the demand we're seeing."
Share is aiming to repeat last year's successful filling of a semi-trailer, which would require about 40,000 pounds of food.
"Our goal is to support the people of this community the best way we can," store manager Leigh Yochlowitz said in a press release.
"It's during the summer months that donations tend to to be the lowest, and so we are thrilled to have the support of PriceSmart Foods at such a crucial time of the year," Wyant said.
He added that demand tends to increase in the fall when kids head back to school.
"It's always the things we don't think about — the fees, the clothing, knapsacks, pencils. It does start to add up, so we do see a spike in need at the start of September."
The food drive runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 7 in the PriceSmart Foods parking lot (2991 Lougheed Hwy.), where volunteers are hoping to fill a semi-trailer full of food. There will be hot dogs and popcorn for sale, with proceeds going to the food bank, as well as live entertainment.
Food donations most urgently needed are: rice, pasta and pasta sauce, canned meats (ravioli, beans), canned fruit, Lipton Sidekicks, Hamburger Helpers, Shake & Bake, Kraft Dinner, juice, canned tomatoes, cereal and peanut butter (medium size).
Share also needs volunteers throughout the day for a variety of tasks, including welcoming patrons and collecting donations. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Heather at 604-529-5107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.