Food Bank wants fruits of your labour
“From what I understand, they’re experiencing bigger crops this year,” said Hampton. “They’re producing quite a bit of produce and they don’t know what to do with it. The food bank can use it.”There’s a lot of fruit trees in the valley and a lot don’t have any concern on what’s left or what’s growing on them. The food bank can use some of that stuff and just pass it off to people that need it.”
The food bank doesn’t have the capacity to pick the fruits but Hampton said, a local group, LUSH Valley Food Action Society may be able to help. It has a program where they get to pick fruit trees and end up with one third of the harvest, one third going to the tree owner, and one third to the owner’s choice of charity. Hampton hopes the food bank could be a beneficiary of the project.
During the summer months, donations of food and cash slow down dramatically said Hampton but they pick up during Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.”When it comes summer time, people tend to forget about the food bank,” said Hampton. “It’s really dry time for us. It’s been tight. We’re on a budget.”Hampton said they try hard to stretch their budget and make them last until the end of the year, but it has been a struggle.”I’m over budget now,” said Hampton. “I went out and made a fairly major purchase and we’re tighter than we were. But when I go, that money, I usually buy such big volumes that I can get them at half price. A lot of people, they go out and buy stuff for us but they can’t get the deals that I can.”
Hampton said the number of people that rely on the food bank has increased over the years. It currently has 5,100 people on its list.”We’re experiencing a lot of people that have part-time work but does not earn enough to make ends meet,” said Hampton. “It used to be in the past, we deal mostly with people who are on social assistance but that has gone down. We’re seeing a lot of working people and we’re experiencing a lot of seniors coming in too.”
People are eligible for one food hamper per month. But the food bank is open mornings from Monday to Friday – 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday to Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday – to allow people to drop by for food items that include dairy or produce when they’re available.
People wishing to donate their surplus produce of vegetables and fruits can drop them off at the Food Bank on 1491 McPhee Road, Courtenay. They can also call the food bank at 250-338-0615. Those who want to donate funds can mail them at P.O. Box 3028, V9N5N3 Courtenay.
Hampton said the food bank provides tax receipts as long as donors can produce proof of purchase and for produce, fair market value of the donation is given.
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