With local mills curtailing and cutting staff, the 100 Mile and District Food Bank have seen a small increase of users, but anticipate a larger amount as Christmas comes along.
“It will go up once these guys are laid off and their unemployment runs out,” said Bob Hicks, the executive director of the food bank. “What we’re scared of is that our numbers will go up and what we’re scared of right now is that our donations will go down because the mills – Norbord and West Fraser – they contribute to us at Christmas time. That’s going to hurt our donations.”
Safeway shutting down for a rebranding will hurt donations as well, says Hicks.
“So we could actually be in a shortfall this year for what we need.”
Hicks said the food bank will be applying for grants and will still have their annual turkey day on the first Monday of December, which is their biggest fundraiser.
A benefit concert for the food bank will also be held on Sept. 28 at the Hillside Community Church. Admission to the concert is by donation. However, some other usual fundraising events for the 100 Mile House and District Food Bank are up in the air, such as the Brian Heppner Memorial Toy Run (formally know as the Goldrush Toy Run) that usually runs on the same day as the Terry Fox Run.
Hicks said they have yet to hear about it this year.
He also mentioned that Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School is looking to do a food drive, but wasn’t sure how many classes would be involved.
“They were here on Monday to see if they can do it. Three very nice people – two young men and a young lady – and they want to do something for the food bank.”
Hicks also mentioned the South Cariboo Truckers, who usually donated around $2,500 on Turkey Day fundraiser. But he said he wouldn’t count on that this year.
“The truckers, because there are no lumber mills open, either moved out of town to make money, so we’re not sure exactly what’s going on,” agreed Linda Wilson, the executive secretary.
“We also noticed too that we’re having new people who have just moved in and applying [for the food bank’s services] either until they get settled or their husbands haven’t got a job yet.”
Wilson and Hicks both said with Christmas just around the corner and with a new lack of the usual donators, their needs will be increased.
During Christmas, according to Hicks, the food bank will put out between 300 to 400 hampers with no problem on one day.
Hicks mentioned there was a shortage of non-perishable goods and estimated that they only have enough to last the month and after that, they will start struggling.
They are also looking for monetary donations and volunteers to help out.