Thousands of kilograms of food have been donated by Nanaimo residents, but more is needed.
Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank and the Salvation Army kicked off the 13th annual Hamperville Christmas assistance program last month with a goal to raise $40,000 in cash and receive 60,000 kilograms in non-perishable food donations.
Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes executive director, told the News Bulletin that so far the drive has garnered 7,791 kilograms of non-perishable food and around $10,000 in cash.
“We are going to need a lot more to come in,” he said. “We’ve certainly seen an uptick, but we need to continue to increase in order to meet our target.”
Sinclair said Hamperville needs foods high in protein, among other things.
“The main items that we are asking people to focus on are peanut butter, canned beans, canned fruits and vegetables and canned pasta,” he said.
Meanwhile, another major donation campaign in the city is well underway.
The 34th annual Great Nanaimo Toy Drive has been accepting toys since Nov. 16 and will continue to do so until Dec. 16.
Nanaimo residents can drop off unwrapped toys, gift cards, books and board games, stuffed animals and other items at Woodgrove and a number of other locations including Nanaimo North Town Centre, Country Club Centre and Lantzville Art Gallery.
Joanne Rowland, toy drive volunteer coordinator, said her group has received hundreds of toys so far but still need more.
“Things are going well,” she said. “We really need more donations of toys for the age group six to 13.”
More than 900 children are registered to receive toys this year according to Rowland, who said that number will likely climb to 1,200.
“We are still registering children. We are up over 900 children who have been registered for toys and we expect to have another 200 to 300 children registered,” she said. “It is staggering.”
Unlike Hamperville, the toy drive does not have a target for the amount of toys that it needs. Rowland said volunteers go out and purchase toys so that everyone who is registered receives a toy on Christmas.
Registrations for the toy drive continue on Saturday (Dec. 10) at University Village Shopping Centre, 530 Fifth St., from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The News Bulletin is also collecting donations of spare change for its annual Coins for Kids fundraising drive. Donations, which support the toy drive and the Nanaimo boys and girls club, can be dropped off at 777 Poplar St. or any Quality Foods location.
For more information, please visit www.thegreatnanaimotoydrive.ca and for information on Hamperville, please visit www.hampervillenanaimo.org.