Don’t be alarmed when you see emergency vehicles flashing their lights around town next week. They aren’t rounding people up, instead they will be taking part in the Emergency Services Fight Back Against Hunger Campaign.
“We have 14 emergency services vehicles that will be going out each night,” said Krista Carnegie, the lead organizer of the campaign. “It looks like we’ll be able to cover a pretty significant part of Revelstoke this year.”
The food drive is the result of a collaboration between the RCMP, Revelstoke Fire & Rescue Services, BC Ambulance, Emergency Social Services, Parks Canada, the Community Connections Food Bank, Joy For Tomorrow, and the Phat Philanthropists.
They are joining forces with the aim of collecting about 1,400 kilograms of food for the food bank over the course of Wednesday and Thursday evenings next week.
There are 126 volunteers who will be divided into 14 teams, said Carnegie, and they will be covering the entire town. The teams will be heading door-to-door this weekend with shopping bags (donated by Cooper’s) and a note indicating what day the food drive will be coming by. There will also be a list of the most badly needed items.
On Wednesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. they will go knocking on doors to collect donations. Or, if you prefer, you can just leave the food outside for pick up.
This year’s campaign replaces the Halloween for Hunger food drive that took place the last two years. The number of volunteers taking part is almost triple the number that took part last year.
“It’s not just kids this year,” said Carnegie. “It’s kids, adults, teens and then all of the emergency services. It’s amazing, everybody coming together and doing this for the community.”
The food drive comes at the perfect time for the food bank. With Curves closing down and the Home Show cancelled, two major food drives didn’t take place this year.
“It’s really affected the amount of food we have to buy and pay for out of our budget,” said Patti Larson, the director of the food bank. “We definitely need a food drive. We need the stock of non-perishable food.”
An influx of non-perishable goods will mean the food bank can spend more money on perishable items like fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat.
It’s not all bad news – the food bank is receiving lots of donations of fresh produce from people’s gardens, including six large cabbages that were divided up and handed out. It also benefited from a donation from Campbell’s Canada and bulk purchase of salmon through Protein for People.
There is also hope for funding for the kids’ snack program, which costs about $15,000 a year to run, said Larson.
The food drive also comes at the time of year when use of the food bank increases, said Larson. On Friday, the day the monthly hampers went out, 110 families representing about 250 people attended the food bank.
“September our numbers tend to go up because kids are going back into school so families have bigger expenses,” she said. “They’re looking forward to heating costs, school supplies, shoes and clothes for school. And, of course, Christmas is coming and that’s an anxious time for families.”
The food drive is being support by Cooper’s grocery store, who is donating grocery bags; and Downie Timber, who is providing high-visibility clothing for the kids to wear the night of the drive.