Beverley Elder, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, watches as primary care paramedics Jeff Radvin and Tim Fletcher carry in groceries into the foodbank. Paramedics from across the Saanich Peninsula helped to collect groceries worth at least $9,000 and another $3,000 in cash donations. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich Peninsula paramedics stock shelves at Sidney foodbank

Paramedics hauled in some 9,000 in donated groceries and $3,000 in cash

Primary care paramedic Tim Fletcher knows first hand that many people struggle to put food on the table.

“We respond all over the Peninsula, we have seen all walks of life, all different families, and we know there is a need out there, because we have seen the need,” said Fletcher.

It is this spirit of giving back to the community that inspired Fletcher, his colleague Jeff Radvin and paramedics from across the Saanich Peninsula to fill one of their ambulances with at least $9,000 worth of donated groceries and other items for the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank. The campaign also collected some $3,000 in cash.

“We go into so many peoples’ houses, we see the social demographics, so we know that this is good cause,” said Fletcher, as he taps on the outside of the vehicle.

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Radvin said this year’s donation drive was the second of its kind in three years and both agreed that the response of the public could have not been better.

“As it filled up, we were getting giddy,” said Fletcher. “We could notice that the back of the ambulance was actually getting lower and lower. It feels heavy.”

Radvin said driving the ambulance to the food bank felt like driving a football team to their game.

“And how do you feel about having food in back? It is a lot better than having patients in the back,” he added. “That’s for sure,” he said.

The collection drive itself started Friday night in the parking lot of the Thrifty Foods outlet in Central Saanich and lasted 30 hours.

“They were more than happy to allow us into their parking lot and take up parking spaces for the weekend,” said Radvin.

Customers, as well as staff working at the grocery store, went above and beyond expectations in buying groceries, with some also donating cash, said Radvin.

Beverley Elder, the food bank’s executive director, said the donation will make a huge difference in keeping shelves stocked.

“It was a nice surprise,” she said of the donation, which she learned off via social media post on Saturday. “It has been great to get these spontaneous donations.”


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