Thanksgiving drive collects 20,000 lbs

Enough food at the Sidney Lions Club food bank to last three months

Brigs Muirhead

Brigs Muirhead

There’s enough food at the Sidney Lions Club food bank to last three months, but that doesn’t mean people should stop donating, says operations manager Bev Elder.

Thanks to recent food drives in the community — including a massive effort put on the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints —  Elder said the food bank shelves are full. The church congregation collected an estimated 20,400 pounds of food during their recent Thanksgiving Food Drive. Member Ted Kelly, who took some photos of the event, said the church partnered with volunteers from St. Andrews Anglican, the Seventh Day Adventist and Peninsula Mission Community churches to organize the drive this month. He said there were more than 800 hours of volunteer time over two days, and there was an average of 9.2 pounds of food donated by homes that took part.

“It came at a perfect time of year,” said Elder, “we were really low. Back to school time had us running out of items.”

The food drive donation means the food bank can serve 345 households — or between 1,100 and 1,200 people — for three months, said Elder. That’s an average of 7,000 pounds of food going to people in need each month.

The summer months generally see a drop in food bank donations, continued Elder.

It’s around the holidays, especially Christmas, that they really pick up.

The need, however, is year-round and when the shelves are low, the food bank puts out a call for help.

When they do, said Elder, the community responds with enthusiasm.

“We’ve really been lucky lately.”

She added the food bank has seen a steady increase in clients in recent years, having been serving around 800 people prior to 2008, or the general time of the more recent economic downturn. Many users of the food bank are working families and single men, who need their services in order to help make ends meet.

The Lions Club Food Bank employs one full-time worker and one casual employee. Elder said they also have 35 to 40 active volunteers who help sort through the donations. The food bank is located at 9586 Fifth St. in Sidney.

Call 250-655-0679 for more information.