Grocery shoppers in Penticton and the Okanagan got a warm welcome and a polite request at the front door of their favourite super markets Saturday.
For four hours during the middle of the day volunteers did their part to help the Junior Chamber International service club bring in over 4,000 pounds of food donations and financial contributions.
Called ValleyDrive, the event was designed to get people to help out by giving them a shopping list of what was needed by the local Salvation Army Food Bank as they entered the store.
JCI member Chelsea Blackwell was one of five volunteers on duty at the Penticton IGA store as part of the event presented by the Penticton Western News.
“It’s been really good we’ve had a lot of people coming out and donating, even just giving change, whatever they can give to us and just buying items right off the list and putting it into our bin,” said Blackwell. “People are also getting lots of information about the Starfish (Pack) program and they like that it’s local and it’s coming back to the community.
“It think it’s important to know exactly where your money is going to support people.”
That program is where students of needy families receive a backpack of goods at the end of the week to take home and share.
Canadian Tire and the Rotary Club of Penticton are also on board with that helping hand.
“There is a need and I believe people think about it around holidays and Thanksgiving but it’s all year round that they need these donations coming in,” said Rotary member Sue Chaudry, who was also at the IGA.
Among those people who donated that day were Barbara Lambert and Bernadette Otto.
“It’s important because there are so many people need help these days, it’s terrible,” said Lambert. “There are so many people in need and these people (volunteers) are doing a wonderful job.”
Otto described the predicament of some parents as almost hopeless.
“There isn’t a single parent who wouldn’t want their children to have a nutritional meal, they’re trying the best they can but it gets pretty frustrating when you don’t see the end of the tunnel,” she said. “And there is no end of the tunnel the way our economy is going.
“They increase the minimum wage but food prices go up, housing goes up, utilities go up. It’s terrible that families have to depend on food banks that were never supposed be a place to depend on.”