On Dec. 17 the three Peninsula Fire Departments will be holding their annual Christmas Food Drive.
The departments will be collecting cash and non-perishable food items, all of which will go to the Sidney Lions Food Bank. This year they are also encouraging people to donate more toiletries: soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.
“At this point we are looking at doing about 400 Christmas hampers,” said Bev Elder, executive director of the food bank.
“It’s gone up definitely this year,” she said, adding last year there were around 320 hampers and the average cost for a hamper is about $120.
The food drive started with the North Saanich Fire Department 17 years ago.
“It’s a family force. We have our kids’ breakfast (at the North Saanich fire hall) for the members and their families, then we all go out as a group and do our walk through Dean Park. That’s where our food drive is,” said Brian Thomas of the North Saanich Fire Department.
He said if people don’t live in Dean Park, they are still welcome to come to the main fire hall on Wain Road to drop off any donations.
“What we do is we try and hit all the streets,” said Jeff Tomlin of the Sidney Fire Department. “It’s a family affair as well, so we go out from 4 to 8 p.m.”
Firefighters and their families will then have some food afterwards at the Sidney Fire Hall.
North Saanich and Central Saanich will hand out collection bags early.
North Saanich will be handing out 750 paper bags on Dec. 13, donated by Thrifty Foods.
Central Saanich will hand out 1,000 bags in their area, donated by the Peninsula Co-op.
“There’s a little bit of a competition between the departments,” Thomas added. “Sidney, I think, has maybe taken the title, but we’re going to give them a run this year.”
Thomas added his department has already filled up a few bags with donated food.
All together, the departments brought in 20 pallets of food last year.
Firefighters’ food drive schedule
Food Drive Dec. 17 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Drop off donations until Dec.16, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the North Saanich Wain Road Fire Hall, 986 Wain Road.
Food Drive Dec. 17 10:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Drop off donations until Dec. 16, 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Central Saanich Fire Hall #1 1512 Keating Cross Road or Central Saanich Municipal Hall 1903 Mt. Newton Cross Road
Food Drive Dec. 17 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Drop off donations until Dec. 16, 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Dec. 17, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Sidney Fire Hall, 9837 Third Street.