Bev Elder, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, said people can help shelves at the food bank by donating online following modifications to various food drives because of COVID-19 restrictions. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Bev Elder, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, said people can help shelves at the food bank by donating online following modifications to various food drives because of COVID-19 restrictions. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank faces higher demand, fewer donations

Applications for Christmas Hampers up more than 10 per cent

As demand for services offered by the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank rises thanks to COVID-19, the non-profit faces a supply crunch in face of new public health orders that have impacted traditional food drives.

Perhaps the most significant impact stems from the modification of the Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive. This food drive traditionally sees crews from the three fire departments on the Saanich Peninsula collect cash and non-perishable food items in what amounts to a massive curbside pick up.

Last year firefighters collected some 20 pallets of food and $15,000 in cash donations, previous years they’ve gathered 22 pallets.

While the departments have modified their fundraising by placing donations bins at local grocery stores, Bev Elder, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, said the change will have an impact. “People are still bringing in donations, but we are not ever going to get to those 22 pallets of food,” she said.

Supply concerns have coincided with growing demand. Whereas the food bank traditionally helps anywhere between 800 and 900 people this time of year, this figure has risen to anywhere between 1,000 to 1,200. Applications for the food bank’s annual Christmas Hamper is up to 340 this year from 300 last year.

Elder said the increase reflects the economic realities of COVID-19 as residents continue to deal with the effects of unemployment among other factors.

The composition of users has also changed. “We are getting a lot more families coming in and a lot more seniors,” she said.

The food bank continues to receive federal and provincial help to cover additional costs caused by COVID-19 mitigation measures as well as to purchase additional food.

Elder expects the weeks leading up to Christmas to be busy.

“We are working long hours to be able to accept donations,” she said. “We are working the weekends now. Basically, we don’t miss a day in December just to make sure we got everything in place to feed people.”

Whereas the food bank traditionally opens Mondays to Fridays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., current donation hours run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays.

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank staff rattled after altercation

Residents who want to help can donate at splfoodbank.com. Help is also on the way from North Saanich, whose council Monday tasked to immediately distribute $50,000 to the food bank.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Victoria parks staffer turns compost made from organics collected in the parks. Piles of this steaming, nutrient-rich stuff will be handed out between April 12-18. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Victoria shovels free home-made compost out to gardeners

Ideal for prepping food gardens, the compost, mulch and wood chips will be at city parks for pick up

New programs and services aimed at helping the unhoused find shelter or housing in Victoria, and to take advantage of support services of various kinds, could be funded if a City of Victoria grant application is successful. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria seeks $3M to $4M in grant funds to enhance community services for unhoused population

Various supports, services for unhoused population part of broad-based funding application

Victoria Police Department seized a replica firearm during an early morning call to the 100-block of Gorge Road East on April 11. (VicPD handout)
Victoria police seize replica firearm in early Sunday morning call

Officers called to temporary housing facility in 100-block of Gorge Road East

Road improvements in Sooke are nearing completion . (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
Sooke road work nears completion

Projects part of $5.7 million in improvements

Vaisakhi normally would have volunteers like these women (in Surrey from a past year) preparing food ahead of the festival to be given out to the hundreds of thousands of spectactors. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria Sikhs observe Vaisakhi virtually, but find a way to give out food

Food and taking care of those in need is a big part of Sikh teachings

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read