Central Saanich Fire’s Stacy Lee and Sidney Fire’s Rick Toogood join Sidney Lions Food Bank Executive Director Bev Elder in the food bank’s storage area. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Peninsula firefighters collect food, cash for local food bank

If it wasn’t for a series of actual emergencies on the very day of their food drive, Sidney firefighters might have topped last year’s numbers.

As it was, they were able to collect 175 boxes of food and $6,275 during the Sidney Lions Food Bank Food Drive earlier in December. All three municipal fire departments on the Saanich Peninsula took part in the day-long fundraiser. Sidney firefighter Rick Toogood said they could not get everywhere they planned to be that day, as they were called to a couple accidents.

“But it was still good,” he said. “When people saw the trucks, they would come out, carrying food or bringing donations.”

The Sidney Lions Food Bank, which serves families throughout the entire Peninsula, is bolstered by the effort of local firefighters. The drive helps keep food on their shelves — and the cash donations enable them to flex their buying power and get more bang for the buck. Through Food Banks BC, the local facility gets deals at various grocery stores, ensuring they can help meet the demand during the winter months.

Toogood said if people are concerned that their food or cash donation was not picked up by the fire department, they can still drop them off at the food bank itself, on Lochside Drive in Sidney, next to Iroquois Park.

The North Saanich Fire Department reported it was able to collect seven-and-a-half pallets of food and raised $2,150 in cash donations.

In Central Saanich, the firefighters there collected between $840 and $860 in cash donations and four full, large totes of food. Firefighter Rob Syverson said, like their counterparts, overall donations were down.

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