A Nanaimo non-profit is looking to bank more volunteers ahead of distribution for its Christmas hamper program.
Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank and Salvation Army Nanaimo’s Hamperville program begins taking registration next week and Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes executive director, said hundreds of volunteer shifts need to be filled.
“A number of our depots that closed because of COVID and still haven’t opened yet are opening up this Christmas,” he said. “So we don’t have the existing pool of volunteers there that we would’ve had in previous years because they’ve been closed for over a year.”
Loaves and Fishes is always accepting food and money donations, said Sinclair, which can be dropped off at the warehouse at 210 Fry St. Canned fruit, vegetables and protein; pasta and pasta sauce are some of the food items that are in demand.
Registration for Hamperville goes until Dec. 9 and can be done in-person or online, with a piece of government-issued ID required for all household members. A final opportunity for people who missed their appointment, or haven’t received a hamper, will take place Dec. 23 at Loaves and Fishes’ depot at 1009 Farquhar St. from 12-3 p.m.
The Salvation Army said it is pleased to collaborate with the food bank and offer those in need more for the holidays.
“They can access the food bank on regular days too, but the Christmas [hamper] is a lot heftier,” said Leah Howroyd, Salvation Army Nanaimo program manager. “They get a lot of specific Christmas items … all the fixings for if they did want to make a full Christmas meal at home, as well they get a grocery store gift card to go and purchase their turkey.”
It is Sinclair’s wish that depots remain open past the holidays.
“What our hope is, is that we’ll be able to continue having them open in the new year,” said Sinclair. “That will be pretty much entirely dependent on us being able to recruit volunteers on an ongoing basis and we’re hopeful that we can do that. The first step is to get them open for Christmas and hopefully be able to sustain that.”
For more information, go to www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org/christmas-hampers.