December is the busiest time for Powell River Action Centre Food Bank, and also the biggest opportunity for the organization to receive donations that stock its shelves for months to come.
The food bank is again teaming up with Safeway, Coast FM and City Transfer for a December event to fill a 36-foot trailer with food and donations.
Coast FM operations manager Kim Wall said she came up with the concept for the fundraiser event last year when she noticed a need to help those within the community.
“I just really wanted to do something to benefit the community that would resonate with residents,” said Wall. “One of the fundamental things we all need for survival is food and I find it unacceptable that in a community the size of Powell River we have people going hungry.”
The success of the inaugural event last year was a surprise to all involved, according to Wall.
“I don’t think any of us had any idea how successful this would turn out to be,” said Wall. “If we had hit $10,000 last year, I would have been happy. We helped raise over $36,000. The generosity of the people in this town raised that.”
Food bank chief operations manager Savanna Dee said the annual event was a huge part of the food bank’s yearly donations last December.
“We had 50 buggies full of food and it lasted over five months,” said Dee. “This community is wonderful and we thank everyone.”
In addition, the fundraiser enabled the food bank to buy a brand new freezer and fridge.
According to data released by the food bank earlier this year, 76 per cent of local food-bank users are single parents with children, individuals with disabilities and seniors. One in three users in Powell River are children.
“There’s no way anyone in this town should be going hungry; it’s ridiculous,” said Wall. “There’s a lot of people here with a lot of money, and surely we can raise enough money to make sure everyone is fed.”
Many other small businesses in Powell River have stepped up to support the event, according to Wall.
Donations can be dropped off at the trailer in the Safeway parking lot, or at participating local schools, until the campaign ends on December 15.
In addition to non-perishable food and personal hygiene items, the food bank is always in need of personal items, however, cash remains the best way to make a donation, according to Dee.
“Money is the best for us because we get discounts and can buy pallets full of food,” said Dee. “We get discounts at the store and we always buy on sale.”
Anyone not able to make it to the food drive or a school can contribute in other ways. The food bank is set up receive donations during open hours from 10 am-2 pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, or via PayPal. Tax receipts are available for all donations.
Local farmers and bakers are also eligible for a 25 per cent tax credit on any food bank donations they make any time of the year.
“As long as they have bakery or farm on their tax return, they can get a 25 per cent federal tax receipt from us,” said Dee, “for all their day-old baked goods, or odd-shaped vegetables and things they can’t sell locally.”