Helping the effort to assist Nanaimo’s in-need families during the holiday season is as easy as opening your community newspaper.
For the last decade or so, Quality Foods, in partnership with Black Press, has provided specially marked paper bags for residents to fill with non-perishable items while out doing their weekly shopping.
The initiative was QF’s heed to the call by local organizations like Loaves and Fishes food bank and Salvation Army. So far, it has seen huge success, with more than 61,000 pounds of food donated in the Nanaimo region alone in 2011.
“That’s a very conservative estimate because there’s no way to track what was delivered directly to the food bank or Hamperville,” said Rob MacKay, Quality Foods marketing director. “It’s been a big hit and apparently has been a very big trigger for people to get a few items for the bags, either while they’re shopping or out of their cupboards.”
Participation is as simple as filling the bags with non perishable items and returning them to any Quality Foods location (Nanaimo has three), until Christmas.
For those with a little less time on their hands, Quality Foods also sells ‘buy-a-bag’ donations in various amounts.
All donations are then collected and delivered to the food bank. Acceptable items include any non-perishable food items such as pasta, canned vegetables and fruit, canned soups, chili and meat, and peanut butter.
“Baby items seem to be in high demand, like diapers, wipes, bottle liners, powder – that sort of thing,” MacKay added.
Quality Foods is hoping to collect enough food to help get the food banks through until the new year.
“Judging by what the food banks have told us, they have come to really rely on these pre-Christmas Drives,” MacKay said. “This time of year, the shelves start dwindling.”