Penticton young professionals look to stock up food bank

As demand increases this time of year, food bank supplies dry up after slow months of donations

After a few dry months of donations, the Salvation Army’s food bank in Penticton is starting to see supplies dwindle.

That isn’t particularly new — food banks tend to see an annual decline in donations after a surge during the Christmas season prior to the new year.

“People kind of tapped out a bit afterwards. It’s tight for them, and so now spring is here and people are getting back outdoors and kind of able to give more,” said food bank manager John Rankin.

“(The supplies are) certainly going down, now, because we haven’t really had many donations since Christmastime. But the community was so generous at Christmas that we’re still pretty good right now.”

But Rankin said the donations will need to pick up to keep pace, and this year a group of young professionals is looking to add their weight to the push for more donations through the Penticton Western News sponsored JCI ValleyDrive initiative.

The Junior Chamber International group in Penticton will have volunteers at every grocery store between Summerland and Oliver on Saturday handing out lists of five items needed by the food bank.

“We got a list of 10 from the food bank, and we’ve split it into groups of five, and we’ll have volunteers handing out those lists to people coming in, letting them know that we’re just collecting food,” said ValleyDrive co-ordinator Cameron Betts.

“If they want to pick up a few items on the list, that would be greatly appreciated and will help support the food bank.”

Volunteers will be at the stores between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday to make the push. It is an initiative that was started in St. Catherines, Ont., by the local JCI chapter, and it’s being picked up for the first time locally this year.

JCI’s Kelowna and Vernon chapters will be running the same campaign in their stores.

Rankin said despite the extra donations received at Christmas time, the ValleyDrive initiative comes with good timing, as demand picks up from more locals getting back out to the food bank as the city thaws. He said he is also seeing more and more families coming in and using the food bank for the first time.

“We do need to pick it up, because it’s going to decrease quite quickly, now,” he said.

“We have probably two or three new families a day at this point. We’re getting about 10 to 15 new families a week in need.”

On top of the regular items — non-perishables like peanut butter and canned good like beans and soup — Rankin said the food bank is also pushing for things like fresh produce. That’s particularly true this time of year with local gardens and farms not producing anything until later in the year.

The ValleyDrive program is also working as a cross-promotion for the Starfish Pack program, soon entering its second year. That program sends school-aged children in families in need home with a backpack of food every Friday to be brought back empty to the school on the following Monday.

While that program is not run by the food bank, with backpacks packed by the Rotary Club with support from JCI, Betts said the ValleyDrive program will be a way to promote that program as well.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

City of Penticton weighs need for a manager of social development

Members of council are divided on whether the position is necessary

South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation close to attaining $20M fundraising goal

The medical foundation is $75,000 short of its goal to expand the Penticton Regional Hospital

Souperbowl Sunday is back for fifth year this weekend

Organizers say they are looking for a fourth chef to compete in round 2 on Oct. 27

100 Homes Penticton gets a new name after year of success

The campaign, run by the United Way South Okanagan, housed an additional 130 people in 2019

Penticton council urged to consider finding student housing options

Students with the Okanagan College Penticton campus presented at the regular meeting on Oct. 15

Election 2019: Tara Howse – Green Party candidate for South Okanagan–West Kootenay

Tara Howse is running for the Green Party in the South Okanagan–West Kootenay riding

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

Sad time for City of Salmon Arm gardeners as more than 300 hanging baskets come down

Municipal crews busy preparing for change of season as flowers die off

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Illegal buoys to be removed from Shuswap, Mara lakes

Transport Canada enforcement action to occur Oct. 21 to 25

Port Moody mayor goes back on unpaid leave during sex assault investigation

Rob Vagramov said he intends to return as mayor in three or four weeks

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Cowichan Valley brothers win big in lottery for second time

Playing same numbers net big wins over a three year period

Most Read