Firefighters across the Saanich Peninsula are encouraging residents to donate to the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank while shopping at local grocery stores.
“Everyone (on Saanich Peninsula) is going to step inside Thrifty Foods, Save-On-Foods or Fairway Markets multiple times before Christmas,” said Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen of the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department. “We know that for a fact, so we really want to encourage people to buy a couple of extra non-perishable items and make that donation right at that point. It still supports the food bank but does it in the safest way possible.”
We aren't quite using the term "cancelled" - we like to think we've made COVID-safe modifications to this years food drive. We have donation bins at @saveonfoods, @FairwayMarkets, and @ThriftyFoods. We're encouraging online donations too, at: https://t.co/ZE4apH9flp https://t.co/AuwixVfdGT— SidneyVFire (@SidneyVFire) December 8, 2020
We've modified our annual Food Drive this year in support of the @SaanPenFoodBank. We won't be in your neighbourhoods, but our donation bins will be at @ThriftyFoods, @saveonfoods & @FairwayMarkets until Dec.14. Pls either donate at these locations, or directly at the Food Bank🥫 pic.twitter.com/GxSjMrzZiE— SidneyVFire (@SidneyVFire) December 5, 2020
Provincial health orders concerning COVID-19 has forced modifications to traditional food drives, including the annual Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive.
This food drive traditionally sees crews from the three fire departments on the Saanich Peninsula collect cash and non-perishable food items in what amounts to a massive curbside pick up.
Mikkelsen said the department is also doing some internal fundraising and is setting up a safe drop-off location at the Community Safety Building.
Firefighter Brian Thomas of the North Saanich Fire Department echoes Mikkelsen. If firefighters won’t be coming around this year, Thomas still hopes that residents will make donations directly to the food bank or donate purchased items directly at their preferred grocery store, he said. While acknowledging frustration, he also added that the measures are understandable.
Nathaniel Wynans of the Central Saanich Volunteer Firefighter’s Association of Central Saanich Fire Department also urged residents to help the local food bank in a message on Twitter.
He said the postponment of this year’s food drive is not just a disappointment for the department and firefighters but also for the “community who takes part in it and relies on it as well.”
He also expressed hope the drive could take place in spring or early summer when the need is again high.
“Just because we are in lockdown stage doesn’t mean we can’t help our local food bank,” he said in alerting residents to a donation bin at the department’s main hall on Keating Cross Road. Residents can also donate online at splfoodbank.com.
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