With Hamperville Nanaimo kicking off Tuesday and Christmas just over a month away, organizers are setting their sights on collecting 55,000 kilograms of food.
The hamper program, a partnership between Nanaimo Salvation Army and Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, collected more than 49,000 kg of food for the needy in 2014, and Peter Sinclair, food bank executive director, is confident the community can help surpass that number this year.
A new distribution system was introduced last year, with clients afforded the opportunity to choose what went into their hampers and clients will again be able to select this year.
“It’s been very successful,” said Sinclair. “It’s actually made things operationally easier for us. It’s easier to store food in boxes than it is in bags and then most importantly on the client end, there’s significantly more dignity in being able to choose food.”
Items particularly needed, according to Sinclair, are canned fish, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce and canned beans.
Rob Anderson, Nanaimo Salvation Army’s director of community ministries, said there is more need this year.
“We’ve seen a slight increase in the need within the community [with] our regular programs,” said Anderson. “So we’re trying to make sure everyone gets fed at Christmas time.”
Sinclair said hampers will be distributed between Dec. 18 and 23, so organizers ask that people looking to donate food items do so by Dec. 22 in order for them to meet distribution. Clients can register until Dec. 22.
Sinclair said a lot of volunteers will be needed to assist.
For more information, please go to www.hampervillenanaimo.org.