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

Steve Smith’s image of two sibling adolescent grizzly bears playfighting in the Chilko River in the B.C. Interior earned him best of show at the prestigious Lion’s Gate Celebration of Nature club competition for 2020-21. (Photo by Steve Smith)
Victoria Camera Club captures top spot in prestigious nature and wildlife competition

Saanich Peninsula photographers part of award-winning team

Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour are part of a corridor that also includes much of urban Saanich that is part of the Greater Victoria 2030 District, a sustainable buildings climate initiative announced recently. (Black Press Media file photo)
Ramping up energy efficiency in Greater Victoria buildings goal of new group

Greater Victoria 2030 District part of North American network of cities working to reduce emissions

Oak Bay High Grade 10 students Oliver Wakely and Alex Joiner with the new scoreboard to soon be installed on the grass turf. Fundraising from the Oak Bay Barbarians rugby alumni and Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay High alumni buy new scoreboard

Scoreboard to be installed on grass field

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read