Thursday September 22, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Once a year, the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive sends out volunteers around various neighbourhoods in Greater Victoria to collect food donations at people’s homes.
In the few days ahead of that, paper bags are distributed to the homes in the targeted areas.
This weekend, on Saturday September 24, pickups will happen in the west shore area — and any other areas where you received a bag at your door.
Until about four or five years ago, the bags used to be plastic. That allows for printing of instructions right onto the bag, says BC Thanksgiving Food Drive Provincial Media Coordinator Scott Friesen.
They are printed in Vancouver for use province-wide by the organization that has hundreds of volunteers, says Grant Gainor, Victoria District Food Drive Chair.
This year’s goal is to collect 600,000 lb of food for distribution to food banks.
The success of the program can largely be attributed to the easy process of people putting food into bags at home, says Friesen. That saves a trip to the store, or buying extra at the store.
Also, the simplification of doing the full drive on one day is helpful.
The program started in 2008. Each year for the last 14 years the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive a growing number of communities jumping on board, says Friesen, who has been with the program from the start. Now over 50 communities participate, he told Island Social Trends today.
How to donate:
Using the bag:
- People who wish to donate can put non-perishable items into the provided bag.
- That can include canned foods, rice, grains and pasta.
- Place the bag at your front door by 9 am on Saturday morning.
- Make sure the bag is visible from the street.
People can also donate to the BC Food Drive online.
Many volunteers & partners:
Gainor says there are over 700 volunteers in the Greater Victoria area. They collect the food that householders have placed outside their front doors (collection is not done inside apartment buildings).
At a central area, the volunteers then assemble the non-perishable food items into containers on pallets for distribution to the food banks. Some of the containers are bags that can hold up to 800 lb in food item weight, says Gainor.
The organization also has a partner in Save On Foods where donation bins are made available in stores. Friesen says Save On Foods has been “the most significant and long term” retail partner where monetary donations can also be made (in addition to food items being placed in bins).
The volume of food is intended to help supply local food banks up to the Christmas season. Students at high schools as well as businesses and organizations in the community also do food drives closer to the Christmas holiday season.
In Langford, donations go to the Goldstream Food Bank. In Sooke the donations go to the Sooke Food Bank through the Sooke Lions. In Victoria this year the donations will go to Rainbow Kitchen. In Saanich the donations will go to the Shelbourne Community Kitchen.
Word of mouth:
The organization relies on word of mouth, a few posters, and the pre-delivered bags for promotion of their program. Apparently all personnel are volunteers, with no salaries paid.
Most of the donated funds are used to print the bags, says Friesen.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends. She has been covering news of the Sooke and the west shore since 2008, with a focus on SD62 since 2014.
Ms Brooke is keenly interested in food sustainability issues and food security for youth and families. While Mary’s B.Sc. is in nutrition science, she also holds the McGeachy Prize in Journalism and a Certificate in Public Relations.
Mary Brooke is presently a candidate for the SD62 school board. She is Mom to four now-grown children who attended schools in SD61, SD62 and SD72.
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends has been covering news of the west shore since 2008. That started with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then the weekly print Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and followed by the weekly print/PDF West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), which then morphed into the fully online digital news-magazine Island Social Trends.
From the start, a socioeconomic lens has been applied to news coverage and commentary, as a way for the community to better know and reflect upon itself.
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