The Sidney Lions food bank is sending out an urgent plea as halfway through the month of August, they’ve found their shelves close to empty.
“We’ve never, ever been so low on food,” said food bank administrator Bev Elder. “We’re at the point now where we have no cereal and no canned soup. Those are things we’ve never run out of before.”
Elder is concerned that with September nearing there will be a severe lack of school-oriented foods like juice boxes and snack items.
“I’m worried that going into September we’ll have to turn people away because we won’t have the things they need for their kids’ lunches,” she said. “We really need any kind of school snacks and drinks and even school supplies, but we will take anything at this point.”
According to Elder the food bank serves 1,100 Peninsula-based clients a month, 39 per cent of whom are children under 16.
“Having items for school lunches is essential for us and right now we wouldn’t be able to provide that.”
The food bank also assists many of the community’s in-school breakfast programs, something which past Sidney elementary school principal (and incoming principal at North Saanich middle school come September) Kal Russell says is an essential service the schools provide to students and families.
“Every day we had breakfast out for kids who need it, that way if they come to school hungry we’re always able to take care of them,” he explained. “We know so much more about nutrition now and what a huge role it plays in keeping them engaged in their learning. Eating small snacks throughout the day are a big part of that.”
But even though the food bank is dangerously low on school-related items with September just around the corner, Elder also noted that staple items at the food bank are dangerously low.
“With 12 per cent of the people we serve being seniors 65 and older, we really need those staple items too like canned beans, canned soups even basics like Kraft Dinner we’ve basically run out of. It’s scary.”
If you are interesting in donating to the Sidney Lions food bank, drop offs can be made directly to the food bank at 9586 Fifth Street (in Iroquois Park) or call 250-655-0679 for more information.
Food bank’s most wanted:
• Canned beans
• Canned fruit
• Canned vegetables
• Canned tomatoes
• Canned soup
• Kraft Dinner
• Helpers (Hamburger Helper, Knorr Sidekicks, Uncle Ben’s rice, etc.)
• Dry soups
• Peanut butter
• School snacks
• Personal hygiene products