After collecting some 20 pallets of food and $15,000 in donations during the annual Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive last year, firefighters across the Saanich Peninsula hope that residents will donate directly to the food bank or donate items purchased at local grocery stores at special bins. (Black Press Media File)

After collecting some 20 pallets of food and $15,000 in donations during the annual Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive last year, firefighters across the Saanich Peninsula hope that residents will donate directly to the food bank or donate items purchased at local grocery stores at special bins. (Black Press Media File)

Saanich Peninsula firefighters call on public to support local food bank

Appeal comes after COVID-19 measures force changes to Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive

Firefighters across the Saanich Peninsula are encouraging residents to donate to the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank while shopping at local grocery stores.

“Everyone (on Saanich Peninsula) is going to step inside Thrifty Foods, Save-On-Foods or Fairway Markets multiple times before Christmas,” said Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen of the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department. “We know that for a fact, so we really want to encourage people to buy a couple of extra non-perishable items and make that donation right at that point. It still supports the food bank but does it in the safest way possible.”

Provincial health orders concerning COVID-19 has forced modifications to traditional food drives, including the annual Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive.

This food drive traditionally sees crews from the three fire departments on the Saanich Peninsula collect cash and non-perishable food items in what amounts to a massive curbside pick up. Last year, firefighters collected some 20 pallets of food and $15,000 in cash donations for the Saanich Peninsula Lions Foodbank. In previous years, they’ve gathered 22 pallets.

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula firefighters look to douse hunger with annual food drive

Mikkelsen said the department is also doing some internal fundraising and is setting up a safe drop-off location at the Community Safety Building.

Firefighter Brian Thomas of the North Saanich Fire Department echoes Mikkelsen. If firefighters won’t be coming around this year, Thomas still hopes that residents will make donations directly to the food bank or donate purchased items directly at their preferred grocery store, he said. While acknowledging frustration, he also added that the measures are understandable.

Nathaniel Wynans of the Central Saanich Volunteer Firefighter’s Association of Central Saanich Fire Department also urged residents to help the local food bank in a message on Twitter.

He said the postponment of this year’s food drive is not just a disappointment for the department and firefighters but also for the “community who takes part in it and relies on it as well.”

He also expressed hope the drive could take place in spring or early summer when the need is again high.

“Just because we are in lockdown stage doesn’t mean we can’t help our local food bank,” he said in alerting residents to a donation bin at the department’s main hall on Keating Cross Road. Residents can also donate online at splfoodbank.com.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com