3,600 lbs of food to be donated to local food banks was collected at last year’s ValleyDrive event. (Contributed)

JCI Penticton to host third annual food drive

Food bank stock is running low and demand is higher than ever due to COVID-19

Junior Chamber International (JCI) Penticton’s annual ValleyDrive event will be returning for the third year on May 2 to support local food banks.

With food bank stock running low and demand higher than ever due to COVID-19, JCI Penticton will be hosting an outdoor food donation drop-off centre in the Cherry Lane Mall parking lot.

There will be tents set up on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the southeast corner of the Cherry Lane Mall parking lot with space for people to drive up and drop off their donations. Event organizers say volunteers will follow precautions to prevent transmission of COVID-19, and all items will be sanitized before being packed up and dropped off at the Salvation Army.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Penticton food bank sees ‘substantial’ rise in demand

“We are a part of this community and are here to help those who need it the most. We started this event two years ago and the community really got behind it so we wanted to try and keep it going as the need is greater than ever, ” said Cameron Betts, ValleyDrive organizer.

Amid COVID-19, the Salvation Army food bank has seen an increase in demand and a decrease in donations.

“We are seeing more and more people needing food due to loss of jobs do the COVID-19 virus. The need keeps growing. We have fair stock right now but it’s being depleted quickly. We are getting less donations coming in,” said John Rankin, Salvation Army food bank manager.

Some of the most needed items this year are pork and beans, Chef Boyardee, canned meats, pasta sauce, canned fruit, rice, soup, juice boxes, bottled water, potatoes, onions, and carrots.

READ MORE: Second ValleyDrive campaign in Penticton a huge success

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