Volunteers with the Lake Country Lions Club were handing out boxes of donated Christmas gifts to families in need Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Volunteers with the Lake Country Lions Club were handing out boxes of donated Christmas gifts to families in need Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Lake Country Lions, food bank volunteers hand out Christmas toy bundles

Volunteers were busily sending out Christmas toy bundles at the Winfield Memorial Hall Saturday

Volunteers were at the Winfield Memorial Hall on Saturday handing out Christmas bundles for those in need.

There were more toy donations than could be fit into the Lake Country Food Bank this year, and with the local seniors centre closed for renovations the Lake Country Lions Club stepped in to help with the 2020 toy donation push.

“Our numbers are way up this year for the food bank, and our children’s list is up this year,” said Kim Sylvestre, Lions Club president and volunteer with the food bank.

More than 60 families signed up for assistance with children’s toys this year, and the food bank has also seen a 50 per cent increase in demand — this while the COVID-19 pandemic has made running food drives a logistical challenge.

“We haven’t been able to really do events, it’s all been kind of unofficial low-key things. You have to make sure you follow all the protocols,” said Stewart Geis, a volunteer driver with the food bank.

Two of the food bank’s biggest annual campaigns —The RCMP Cram the Cruiser and the fire department’s Fill the Boot — were cancelled or reduced this year.

“Usually I believe we get eight apple bins full of food from (the Fill the Boot campaign), and this year it didn’t happen,” Geis said.

Toys donated by the community were stored in the basement of the Memorial Hall. Clients with the food bank were able to send in a Christmas wish list to the volunteer Lions, who then combed through the items and put together boxes of gifts ready for pickup. Presents were left unwrapped, so parents could see what their kids would be getting on Christmas Day.

“It’s been a fun time,” Sylvestre said.

Donations are always appreciated, and with the snow on its way any day now, she says coats, boots and other warm items are at a premium.

READ MORE: The society is also mourning the passing of founding member, Judy Mallett

READ MORE: COVID-19 cancels Armstrong firefighter’s traditional Santa Run


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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