Food drive helps families

Thanksgiving Food Drive to stock bare Salvation Army food bank shelves

Now that summer is coming to an end and school is underway, a local organization is hoping the community can get back in the routine of giving.

This time of year is a struggle as shelves at the Salvation Army Food Bank are typically quite bare. But a province-wide food drive is stepping in to help restock supplies for families and individuals in need.

Vernon’s third annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive goes Sept. 14 from approximately 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. throughout the community, with reminder bags being dropped off earlier in the week.

“We had 132 people, which established 38 routes last year, but I think we’ll have a bit more this year,” said Bob McKay, local organizer of the event, put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Volunteers from the church, as well as Vernon, Kalamalka and Silver Star Rotary and ValleyFirst Credit Union, are so far taking part, but more volunteers are welcome.

“It feels good to help serve the community and those less fortunate than us,” said McKay, also thanking the annual Realtors Food Drive for lending its template to this drive. “The kids, anywhere from nine years and up, they love delivering the bags and then on Saturday going around and seeing what people have donated.”

The ‘what’ is something some may struggle with but the Salvation Army has a few tips.

“With school starting up we design kids packs so healthy snack items, healthy juice boxes, granola bars,” said David MacBain, Salvation Army community ministries director.

Also needed are items such as tomato products, stews, canned pasta and peanut butter.

Donors are asked to steer clear of soups (which the food bank has an abundance of), home preserves (for health and safety reasons), as well as outdated items or just that random package that’s been sitting in the back of their cupboard.

“We want to treat those that we serve with dignity and respect and that includes providing, good, healthy products,” said MacBain.

There are also some special dietary needs that many of those accessing the food bank cannot afford on their own: such as Boost, Ensure and Pedialyte.

“For those wanting to help families we also have a moms and tots program,” said MacBain. “We provide milk, eggs and cheese and anything we have (on shelf from donors) from soothers to formula.”

While some of the clients served need to access the food bank on a regular basis, MacBain notes that many are in a spot where they just need to use the service for a short time until they can back on their feet.

But no matter who is in need: “Those who are receiving are very grateful.”

Anyone who does not receive a bag can drop off their donations to the Salvation Army Food Bank (3303 32nd Ave. behind Staples).

Anyone wanting to lend a hand at the food drive can contact McKay at 250-307-3464 or mckayent@gmail.com.

You can also learn about upcoming drives and items needed by ‘liking’ The Salvation Army – Vernon and Enderby page.