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Coast Wide Food Bank Drive looking for a boost in last week of campaign

Just a few years ago, in 2021, the campaign raised more than $100,000. At the start of this week, this year's iteration had raised just $1,000.
While donations are slow to roll in for the Coast Wide Food Bank Drive, the campaign received two $2,500 donations this week from real estate teams. Pictured are Russ Qureshi and Jon McRae of Coast Lifestyles Team, Darrell Pilgrim of the Salvation Army Sunshine Coast, Chris Hergesheimer of SCCSS, and Sarah MacKenzie and Kenan MacKenzie of MacKenzie Real Estate Team.

Organizers of May’s annual Coast Wide Food Bank Drive are hoping donation momentum will grow over the final week of the month-long campaign.

Just a few years ago, in 2021, the campaign raised more than $100,000. This year, as of May 21, the campaign had raised around $1,000 of its $25,000 goal. (That said, two business donations of $2,500 did come in that day.) 

The campaign funds are split among the Coast’s four food banks – St. Barts Food Bank (Gibsons), the Salvation Army Harvest of Hope (Gibsons), the Sunshine Coast Food Bank (Sechelt) and the Pender Harbour Food Bank – and support services through the year.

“Our [donation] numbers are much lower than we had hoped,” Darrell Pilgrim of Salvation Army told Coast Reporter, calling the donation total “disappointing.”

“We brought the goal down over the past couple of years, just because the numbers have kept going down, unfortunately,” Pilgrim said. 

But while campaign donations have slowed, demand has increased. 

Pilgrim said their food bank has seen an increase in demand of 10 to 20 per cent year over year. He also estimates that their food costs have risen 25 per cent – despite buying in bulk. 

“That’s probably the biggest thing we’re dealing with right now,” he said. “Not even the amount of new people. The amount of food costs that we’re having to absorb ourselves is a major issue.”

Food banks are doing what they can to make things work, said Pilgrim, but they’re having to make decisions around what and how much they can provide in their programs, including food hampers. (Services differ food bank to food bank.) 

“The need is ever increasing here on the Coast,” said Pilgrim, highlighting that all of the funds raised in the campaign stay on the Coast to support people in need. 

The best way people can contribute to the campaign is by visiting, said Pilgrim. As well, on, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the campaign is hosting a “depot day” at every local grocery store and Sunshine Coast Credit Union.