A Loaves and Fishes truck parked at the warehouse on Fry Street. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo food bank exceeded its goal over the Christmas season

Donations still needed throughout the year, says Loaves and Fishes

A local food bank received plenty of food donations during the Christmas season.

Peter Sinclair, executive director with Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, said his organization received more than $400,000 worth of food in December, which surpassed its goal for the month.

“We are still getting everything tabulated to know exactly but we exceeded our goal,” Sinclair said.

Every year in December, Loaves and Fishes and the Nanaimo Salvation Army organizes a Christmas hamper program known as Hamperville, which provides food for those in need. Sinclair said the program was a success.

“We had a great year,” Sinclair said.

Loaves and Fishes also saw “significantly fewer people” access a Christmas hamper this year, which Sinclair said is encouraging. He said he isn’t exactly sure why there was a significantly dropoff, but believes a stronger local economy is a factor.

“Our area of expertise is feeding people when they show up. If I had to guess, I would say more people are working,” he said. “When you’ve got a good economy and people are working, they don’t need to come to the food bank.”

Sinclair said despite the positive news there are still plenty of people who are still relying on the food bank regularly.

“There are still a staggering number of people using the food,” he said. “It’s not that the need has gone away, it is just that has been reduced and we are encouraged that we are seeing that.”

Donations of canned tuna, canned beans, canned fruits, pasta and pasta sauce are always welcomed according to Sinclair, who said Loaves and Fishes is now entering a period where it receives fewer donations.

“January right through until September is slow and then we see things pick up again and there is definitely a huge drop between December and January,” he said.

Donations for Loaves and Fishes can be dropped off at their warehouse at 210 Fry St. or made online at www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org.

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