Melvin Kilback (right) from the Kettle River Outfitters in Oliver BC and John Rankin (left), the Food Bank Manager-Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. File photo.

Melvin Kilback (right) from the Kettle River Outfitters in Oliver BC and John Rankin (left), the Food Bank Manager-Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. File photo.

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive returns Sept. 15

Need for the intiative continues to grow as Penticton faces housing crisis, increased displacement

The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive is returning to Penticton on Sept. 15.

Beginning Sept. 11 to Sept. 14, volunteers will be delivering flyers and bags to as many homes within the city as possible. Residents are asked to fill these bags with non-perishable food they would like to donate to the Salvation Army Food Bank.

Jonathan Sevy, a volunteer for the food drive since its inception five years ago, says he’s seen the need and support for this event increase each year.

“It’s definitely grown in the number of groups and organizations in favour of it and making it happen,” said Sevy. “We’re in a giving community with all of the schools, churches, organizations and companies that get involved.”

Sevy said multiple retirement homes in the city are involved with the drive as well, heading up the initiative of taping flyers to every bag that will be delivered to people’s houses. Recipients of the food bank are also invited a month in advance to help with the drive.

Related: Okanagan College opens food bank for students

“With these invitations we send out to the people using the food bank, we’ve seen the number of them volunteering with the food drive essentially double every year,” said Sevy.

The need for this type of charity has been increasing year after year as the cost of living continues to rise and the city faces a housing crisis.

“More and more people are being displaced so there is definitely a huge need for it,” said John Rankin with the Salvation Army Food Bank.

Rankin said they have about 20 new clients sign up with the food bank each month, half of which are families and the other half are individuals.

Organizers and volunteers are hopeful this year’s efforts will match the generosity the community showed last year.

“I think we took in around 10,000 pounds of food last year,” said Rankin.

“That’s a huge benefit to the food bank because it lasts a long time and goes a long way.”

“I think with the fires and all of the people that were displaced, it really touched the hearts of the people in the Okanagan,” said Sevy. “It was thrilling to see all the pallets of food we gathered.”

Sevy said this initiative is also great for bringing the community together.

“It really brings people together, people that don’t know each other from the schools or churches,” said Sevy.

“You’ll see someone and start to recognize them because you served together in the community. It’s really building people and the community.”

The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive is still seeking volunteers to distribute bags to houses Sept. 11 to Sept. 14, covering the 120 routes outlined for this year’s initiative. Each route has approximately 100 houses and would take two people less than an hour to collect.

Residents can also help by obtaining relevant permissions to hang flyers in neighbourhoods and apartment buildings. If you are willing and able to assist please contact either Sevy at 250-493-5580 or Dave De Kezel at 250-462-1998.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter

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