Local businesses are stepping up to help launch the annual Thanksgiving food bank drive, running Oct. 1-31.
Gibsons businessman Klaus Fuerniss was first out of the gate with a donation of $1,500 from his Wendy’s/Tim Hortons franchise. Fuerniss noted that “these are difficult times for a lot of people, and we all need to do what we can to support them through our four community food banks. This is a time when we give thanks for what we have and share with others in our community who are in need.”
Donations to the food bank drive can be made online through www.sunshinecoastfoodbankdrive.ca or by cheque payable to Sunshine Coast Community Services with “Food Bank Drive” noted on the memo line.
In past years, volunteers distributed bags Coast-wide to area residents, who then filled them with non-perishable food items. Darrell Pilgrim, ministry director for the Salvation Army, notes that the bags collected by volunteers at last year’s food drive returned about 100,000 pounds of food with an estimated value of $50,000.
With the pandemic, health regulations do not permit the public to donate food or other items to food banks and shelters, leaving food banks to rely on cash donations to purchase basic necessities for their clients.
This year’s Thanksgiving Harvest of Hope program will follow the model established last spring. In March, directors from the Coast’s four food banks cooperated to roll out the Coast’s first virtual food drive. They were shocked – pleasantly – when businesses and residents rushed to support the program. Over $35,000 was raised in the first two weeks of the month-long initiative, collected and administered through Sunshine Coast Community Services.
Donations are tax-deductible and receipts will be issued for gifts of $20 or more. To receive a tax receipt donors should ensure their full name, address and contact information is provided with the donation.
To donate directly to a specific food bank:
• St Bart’s (Gibsons): cheque made payable to St. Bart’s Food Bank mailed to 659 North Rd., Gibsons BC V0N 1V9; e-transfer to email@example.com with “For Food Bank” and donor name/address in comment section.
• Salvation Army (Gibsons): drop off cheques at either Sechelt or Gibsons Thrift Stores, or mail to Box 1625, Gibsons BC V0N 1V0.
• Sechelt: e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org with “For Sechelt Food Bank” and donor name/address in comment section or mail cheque to Box 1069, Sechelt BC V0N 3A0.
• Pender Harbour: donate through Sunshine Coast Credit Union or mail cheque to Pender Harbour Food Bank c/o PH Community Church, Box 400, Madeira Park BC V0N 2H0.