The Comox Valley Food Bank is bustling with activity — and that’s important because donations that come in now must last through the holidays and well into the new year.
“There’s a substantial amount of food coming in from all over, from the schools, from churches, private individuals, different groups, lots of cash donations coming in,” says president Jeff Hampton. “The volume is so overwhelming now but we’re thankful for it because what we get now is going to keep us going hopefully to March and April.”
Hampton says food and cash donations seem to be down a little bit from last year, but it’s hard to judge what the total will be because there’s still time left in December, which is traditionally the month people donate the most to the food bank. Because donations tend to drop off after the holiday season, Hampton stresses the supplies the food bank receives now must last for as long as possible.
About 1,200 Comox Valley families receive assistance from the Comox Valley Food Bank each month, and while Hampton says this number is much the same as last year, he believes the need for help is still growing here.
“I think it’s (the need) growing still because we’re seeing a change in dynamics where not necessarily the poor and the homeless — but we’re now getting part-time employed and some full-time employed,” he says, adding an example: “You’ve got a full-time job with minimum wage and by the time you pay rent and — if you’ve got a family you have more — you run out of funds before you run out of month.”
Perishable and non-perishable food donations are welcomed, as are donations of cash and personal hygiene products, like toothpaste, shampoo and soap.
The food bank started up a Fresh From The Heart campaign last year and is continuing with its push for more healthy fruits and vegetables in its food hampers. Hampton also notes nutritious non-perishables, like peanut butter, canned meats, fish, vegetables and soups are much-needed.
The Comox Valley Food Bank found a new home earlier this year and is located at 1-1491 McPhee Ave. across from Courtenay Elementary School.
The food bank is open from 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday to Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday and 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Friday, but Hampton notes alternate arrangements for donation drops can be made by calling the food bank at 250-338-0615. The food bank will be closed Dec. 25 and 26.
The food bank can give out tax receipts for donations, including food donations if the donor has the receipt proving where they purchased the food.
Comox Valley residents in need of assistance can get one food hamper per month, which has enough food for five days inside. They can also stop by once per week for some supplementary items like produce, baked items like bread and sometimes dairy.
Hampton says he’s very thankful to everyone in the Valley “who is very generous in supporting and helping those in need.”