Nanaimo non-profits have gotten started on trying to fill Christmas hampers for those in need.
Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank and the Salvation Army Nanaimo are partnering to provide food and gift cards for those in need through the Christmas hamper program. Online sign-up has begun, and people without computer access can register at all Loaves and Fishes depots beginning Monday, Nov. 21.
“People get to pick every item, typically a selection of non-perishable items, some fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs, bread, pretty much the staples,” said Alex Counsell, Loaves and Fishes’ director of operations. “Everybody gets a grocery store gift card as well and that’s designed for them to buy a protein of their choice. If they want a turkey, a ham or if they don’t eat meat, they can buy whatever they want.”
People looking to register will need ID for each member of their household, and can choose a date between Dec. 10-23 when they would like to pick up their hamper.
Food donations are needed in order to fill the hampers, with numerous items in demand including canned fruit as well as vegetables, proteins, cereal and granola bars.
Kim Maandag, Salvation Army Nanaimo family services director, said her organization supplies gift cards and works well with the food bank.
“We have partnered with Loaves and Fishes for many years to bring a more rounded, more robust [program] together than we could do separately,” she said. “That’s been our philosophy for the last number of years, that we can do more together.”
There were 1,500 hampers distributed in 2021 and Counsell anticipates higher numbers in 2022. He recommends people bring bags for pickup.
“It’s going to be lots of food,” he said. “They need to prepare to take out four, five, six bags worth of food.”
Volunteers for the Christmas Hamper program are also needed. For more information, visit www.viloavesandfishes.org.