Johnathan Sevy got goosebumps as he reflected on the support the community showed today.
Sevy, the local organizer of the B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive, saw an estimated 13,100 pounds of food come through the Salvation Army doors.
“I’ve seen generosity in Penticton, but this was just stunning,” said Sevy.
Earlier this week approximately 108 volunteers dropped off Marketplace IGA shopping bags at residences in Penticton, Summerland, Kaleden and Okanagan Falls to collect items for the Salvation Army Food Bank. On Saturday, the volunteers picked them up to return to a hub of activity at the food bank.
“They got the point that with the wildfires people are in need, that donations were down, the need was up and Penticton just really came through,” said Sevy, adding that 283 volunteer hours were donated to get the massive job done.
Last year, the initiative collected about 9,000 pounds of food. Sevy said thanks to the volunteers, who were still rolling in on Saturday morning asking how they can help, those in need will not go hungry.
“I am sorry for one thing, we left Salvation Army with a big problem,” joked Sevy about the mass of bins and pallets that were full of food and being forklifted into the Salvation Army storage area. “But, they seem to not mind.”
Volunteer Paulo Wheatley said it was worth giving up some time on his birthday to help out.
“We’ve received before, now it’s great to be giving back,” he said.
Sevy noted his numbers do not include Summerland. Okanagan Falls and Kaleden gathered another 700 pounds of donations, plus $200 in cash donations for the Okanagan Falls Helping Hand. Donations will still be trickling in over the next few days that may not have been picked up on Saturday.
John Rankin, family service manager at the Salvation Army, previously told the Penticton Western News they hand out about 500 food hampers a month and this food drive will go a long way to helping fill those.
“It will have a significant impact, that’s for sure,” said Rankin. “There is a greater need all the time, we have 20 new clients every month, some are single, some are families and it’s people of all ages.”