This weekend’s Santa Run had Sooke’s firefighters helping Santa to collect food for the food bank. (Tim Collins - Sooke News Mirror)

This weekend’s Santa Run had Sooke’s firefighters helping Santa to collect food for the food bank. (Tim Collins - Sooke News Mirror)

Overflowing hampers bring cheer to Sooke families

Food bank has been blessed by recent food drives

It’s a hive of activity at the Sooke Food Bank as volunteers prepare for the Christmas season.

Every day, more than 20 volunteers arrive at the food bank to sort food items, pack shelves and otherwise prepare for the push to create Christmas hampers for the community’s least fortunate.

This Christmas, the food bank will be packing more than 900 boxes to make up the 340 hampers going out the door next weekend (the number of boxes in each hamper depends upon the number of people in the family).

The effort has been made easier by the generosity of the community and the hard work of the volunteers who recently took part in two food drive initiatives.

On Dec. 11, more than 50 volunteers at Edward Milne Community Sschool hit the streets to collect 16,893 food items for the food bank. It was the highest number of items ever collected by the Christmas initiative and vice-principal Todd Powell said it was the combined efforts of the community that made it possible.

“We had EMCS students in the leadership program, but we had other students as well plus three local hockey teams and other community volunteers. I want to give them all a massive thank you,” Powell said.

RELATED: 10,000 tonight

Then on Saturday evening another food drive, this time by the Sooke Fire Rescue Department, added another giant truckload of food to the mix.

“We filled a giant U-Haul unit with food and also collected more than $8,000 in cash donations. It was just a fabulous night and I really want to thank all the firefighters and others who helped make the night possible,” said Chief Kenn Mount.

“We got home at about 11:30 on Saturday night and everyone was pretty much exhausted. But it was worth it.”

RELATED: Santa Run an annual affair

It’s important, though, for people to know why all this effort is needed.

“The need is there, and it just keeps rising,” Ben Moleski, the co-chair of Sooke’s Christmas bureau said.

“We have all kinds of different people who need our help but people should realize that many of them are the working poor. These are people who, despite working hard to provide for their families, often have to make a choice between paying their hydro bill or feeding their family. And Christmas is particularly hard.”

He noted that just last week an additional 10 families joined the ranks of the food bank’s clients.

But at the same time the community is rising to address the need, Moleski said.

“Just look at all these people and all the food that’s been donated. It’s amazing.”

After the tons of food collected in the community is sorted, the volunteers will be back on Saturday to pack the hampers.

“We’ll have a sort of conga line set up and, in a few hours, we’ll get the 900 boxes packed,” said Mike Thomas, the other Christmas Bureau co-chair.

“But before then we’ll be buying $24,000 of fresh produce for the hampers. We buy that from our local grocers; folks who give us wonderful deals and are always very supportive.”

And when it’s all done, the volunteers will return to their own homes to enjoy Christmas celebrations, secure in the knowledge that they’ve helped make the holiday a little brighter for the community.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Mike Thomas checks out the stats at the Sooke Food Bank. He and his cadre of volunteers help to bring cheer to the community’s least fortunate. (Tim Collins - Sooke News Mirror)

Mike Thomas checks out the stats at the Sooke Food Bank. He and his cadre of volunteers help to bring cheer to the community’s least fortunate. (Tim Collins - Sooke News Mirror)

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

A fire sparked at an encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue early Thursday morning. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Residents of Pat Bay Highway encampment to be relocated after early morning fire, site secured for clean up

Eviction notice issued in 2020, not enforced to allow BC Housing to connect with campers

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Most Read