An example of one of the hamper’s of food the 100 Mile Food Food Bank Society distributes twice a month. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

An example of one of the hamper’s of food the 100 Mile Food Food Bank Society distributes twice a month. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Food banks preparing for surge of demand

Donations of food and money are needed this holiday season

Demand has once again increased for local food banks this holiday season.

Both the 100 Mile Food Bank Society and 100 Mile House’s Loaves and Fishes program said their numbers are up as Christmas approaches. Danny Williams, president of the food bank society, said this is a typical occurrence this time of year.

“This time of year we’re very busy. Our recipients have doubled, pretty well, and we’re doing everything we can to get all our donations together for our Christmas Hampers,” Williams said. “It’s keeping us busy, our volunteers are working their butts off.”

This year Williams said they’ll be giving out their Christmas Hampers on Dec. 20 with the assistance of Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson and District of 100 Mile House Coun. Donna Barnett. Williams said on a typical hamper day they used to serve 70 clients, but since COVID-19 they’ve been serving up to 160. He expects that number to be even higher at Christmas.

Loaves and Fishes president Trudy Endacott said her organization is currently serving 120 clients, half of which are families. While this number is down slightly from previous years, she said those who are seeking out help are in desperate need.

“We’re seeing an increase of very needy people,” Endacott said. “They need whatever we can give them. We used to say come once a month but now we say come every couple of weeks, because the ones who come are very desperate. They can’t afford stuff and we are basically feeding them.”

Donations to Loaves and Fishes are keeping up with the demand so far. However, Endacott said they always welcome new donations of food and money to help their clients. This winter bread and meat have proven hard to come by, but Endacott said they also will take dried goods, canned goods and gifts for the families.

“If someone would like to help out we’re looking for gift certificates of maybe $10 to either Subway, DQ, or A&W to give to the teens,” Endacott said. “It’s always really appreciated when people care about the community.

Endacott said for children they take toy donations, while for adults they’ll give out gloves and socks. She added there’s a Christmas tree at the 108 Mile Supermarket where people can purchase gifts for those in need.

Williams said the food bank always welcomes donations of non-perishable food but prefers cash donations. Thanks to partnerships with FreshCo and Save-on-Foods, he said they can make that money go three times as far.

Loaves and Fishes is based out of Hillside Community Church and is typically open Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Endacott said clients can contact her at any time via 250-395-2708 to arrange a pickup.

“We want to give people hope. We don’t want to say ‘God bless you’, we want to actually bless and help them, show them that someone cares.”

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