Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank is making a final push for donations of food and money as its summer campaign draws to a close.
Food 4 Summer is taking place until July 9, and food donation boxes are located at grocery stores across Nanaimo. Special grocery bags were recently distributed with copies of the News Bulletin and can be filled with food items and dropped off at store bins or at Loaves and Fishes’ warehouse at 210 Fry St.
While inflation has led to rising food costs, Abby Sauchuk, food bank director of development, said numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels. However, there has been a 30-per cent increase in visits compared to last year, she said.
“We are also giving free food to over 100 other non-profits, schools, other food banks and Indigenous communities across Vancouver Island,” said Sauchuk. “So our services are spreading farther. Since the pandemic, we’ve really stepped up feeding across Vancouver Island by supporting the other non-profits more.”
The food bank says items such as canned proteins, vegetables and fruit are always in demand, but other items are also sought.
“This year, we’ve added breakfast cereal and granola bars in anticipation of the need for kids who are being fed through the schools and they’re closed now … there’s an assumption there’ll be a bigger demand for that now because the kids aren’t getting their breakfast programs anymore,” Sauchuk said.
She said the fundraiser will culminate with Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes’ executive director, and Robin Dutton, from Coal City Cycles, traversing bike trails across Nanaimo for 24 hours, beginning Friday, July 8.
Monetary donations can be made at the Loaves and Fishes warehouse between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday or online at www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org. Island Savings will match all money donations up to $10,000.