The North Okanagan’s generosity has filled up area food bank shelves.
The 37th annual Realtors Food Drive was held in Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong and Enderby on a chilly Wednesday evening.
In Vernon, 29,234 pounds of food was collected, filling 52 apple bins.
“It went very well,” said Vernon organizer Dawn Taylor of Re/Max. “We had more than 450 volunteers out there, members of financial institutions, realtors, friends of realtors, North Okanagan childhood educators.
“It was a little chilly, but we were all running, and we all kept warm, we dressed for the occassion. Everything flowed quite smoothly.”
Students Without Borders, members of Junior Chamber International (JCI) and Salvation Army church members were also on hand Wednesday night to unload trucks and put the food inside the Salvation Army.
On Thursday morning, close to 15 volunteers were on hand helping sort through the much-needed food items.
Prior to the food drive, the Salvation Army’s shelves were low to the point the church was purchasing stock items like peanut butter, powdered milk and tomato products.
Those items were being sought in Wednesday’s food drive along with rice, pasta, canned meat and fish, canned fruit and vegetables, beans, flour, sugar, cereal, jam, oatmeal and canned milk.
“The community has come to our support again in filling our shelves,” said David MacBain, community ministries director for the Salvation Army. “The total raised is very similar to last year and brings us to a comfortable place, and more will come in.”
If a residential area was missed Wednesday, Taylor said to call any real estate office and a realtor will come pick up the donations, or simply drop off the food at the Salvation Army.
“We are so appreciative of the community’s participation, and the help of realtors and their elves,” smiled MacBain. “It’s vital to have the continued support we are looking for to provide for those in need in our community.”
In Enderby, 2,886 pounds of food was collected, along with $282 in cash donations.
Organizer Colin Fothergill of Century 21 was overjoyed with the turnout of volunteers and by the community’s gracious donations.
“I want to thank the realtors, BMO, Enderby and District Credit Union along with the community,” said Fothergill. “Normally we have trouble filling the drivers needed for the 14 routes but this year we had 16 drivers.
“We also had 23 students from A.L. Fortune Secondary School helping, along with the school’s principal, Gene Doray, who not only collected food but came and helped out with refreshments after.
“The people really turned out to help because the need (for food) is there.”
In Armstrong, the final tally of food collected was not available Thursday, but the organization that administers the food bank was thrilled.
“It went extremely well,” said Jack Whelpley, area director for the North Okanagan for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. “We are very impressed with the generosity people have shown, along with the hard work of the realtors and their assistants.
“The food is desperately needed and all the food received will fill our Christmas hampers and shelves to help us carry on for the rest of the year.”
n The Salvation Army in Vernon announced it will have a first-ever Christmas Depot this year.
Due to space restrictions at its House of Hope, the Salvation Army will give out its Christmas hampers and gifts Dec. 17 and 18 in the former Far West building, on Kosmina Road off Highway 6.
The building is half-a-block from a Vernon Transit stop.
“We have called all who were interviewed before the Christmas Depot was confirmed, but we want to make sure all know to go to the former Far West,” said MacBain.
Volunteers are needed to help with the hampers, as well as to be ‘taxi drivers’ to help families home with their food and gifts. Call 549-4111 for details.
Salvation Army kettle volunteers are still needed as well. Call Tatiyanna at 250-307-7770 if you can volunteer some time.