Alma, Allan Balladares and family organized a fundraising and food drive benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank in Nanaimo Saturday. A caravan of cars began at Beban Park and headed down to the food bank’s Fry Street warehouse. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Essential service worker family organizes convoy to assist Nanaimo food bank

Over $1,000 raised, along with food, benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank in Nanaimo

Two essential service workers in Nanaimo, and their family, organized a convoy to Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank in an effort to assist with COVID-19 pandemic relief Saturday.

Alma and Allan Balladares, a registered nurse and RBC bank employee respectively, are both working during the coronavirus crisis and said they wanted to lend a helping hand. They, along with their friends, gathered at Beban Park and drove down to Loaves and Fishes’ Fry Street warehouse with food and monetary donations.

“I know that there are a lot of people that are needing this type of service right now,” said Allan. “My family and I, and especially because we have three little ones at home who are now going to school, we’re trying to make sure they know how to give to the community and how blessed we are. Part of the blessing is also to share, so we wanted to go on a trip to donate something to the food bank.

“I know it’s a little donation, and the demand is high, so I decided to make an invitation to family, friends and some colleagues and it took off from there.”

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Alma works at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and said clinical nurse leaders have done a good job in making nurses feel supported. She said she feels safe going to work and is relieved that B.C. hasn’t been affected by the pandemic as other provinces have.

“We feel lucky,” said Alma. “We’re both still working, so for us, we haven’t felt a hit, as hard as other people, when we see the numbers of unemployment and the increased demand on food banks, which is why we needed to give back. It’s one thing doing it yourself, but when we have lots of friends and community that can support us … then it makes it more special and more significant.”

Allan estimated there were $1,500 was donated to the food bank, including $1,000 from RBC, and among people taking part, members of the Latin American Society of Nanaimo.

This feel-good story is part of the #WereInThisTogether campaign by Black Press Media. Have an uplifting story that you think would bring joy to readers? E-mail your story, photos and videos to

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