Spirit of giving challenge goes out to all

Last Christmas more than 1,200 individuals, couples and families registered to receive a Christmas hamper from the food bank.

It looks to be another busy season as Kelowna Community Food Bank launched its annual Christmas Campaign: The Spirit of Giving last weekend.

“We serve thousands every month, but the need is always greater at Christmas,” said Vonnie Lavers, executive director for the Kelowna Community Food Bank.

“Christmas is a difficult time for many Okanagan households.

The reasons vary, the results are the same—vulnerable individuals and families face a bleak Christmas.

“Many must choose food and shelter before the joy of season.  Imagine such a Christmas through the eyes of a child.  The effects are truly devastating; these memories last a life time.”

Last Christmas set a record at the food bank as more than 1,200 individuals, couples and families registered to receive a Christmas hamper, up from 839 in 2010.

In addition to staple food items, Christmas hampers are stuffed with turkey, fresh produce, canned goods and treats, plus toys and gifts for the entire family.

Families with children can pay a special visit to our Christmas Store.

Families receive a new unwrapped toy, one stuffed animal, one book, stocking stuffers, new mittens and a new toque per child.

This year, Christmas hamper registration is up.

The food bank is facing a difficult few months.

“These are tough economic times; overall donations are down in light of a diminished capacity for individuals and corporate donors to give,” Lavers said.

She says the deadline for Christmas hamper registration is Friday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m.

Christmas puts a huge dent in the food bank’s winter inventory.

“Donations drop off completely in January.  We have set a goal to raise $500,000 in food and funds this December, it is critical that we reach our campaign target.”

Lavers says there are many ways for individuals and businesses to give:

• Look for your Spirit of Giving donation envelope in the mail, newspapers and community events

• Donate non-perishable food items at various community food drives through December

• Make an online donation to the Castanet.net Cast-A-Light campaign

• Sign up for No Hungry Children and support children’s nutrition programming

• Buy BC Coupons—purchase Buy BC Coupons from the checkout at your local grocery store, every $2 buys $6 worth of food

• Join the Vital Waters All You Can Drink donor program, 10 per cent of every dollar supports food bank programs

• Feed The Valley campaign, donate non-perishable food items or make cash donations at any Valley First Credit Union branch

• Hold a festive food drive in your neighbourhood or at your workplace

• Send a donation directly to the Kelowna Community Food Bank’s Spirit of Giving Campaign, 1265 Ellis St., Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 1Z7

• Donate online at www.kelownafoodbank.com.

The Ellis Street food bank location has also extended Christmas hours,  open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until Dec. 22.

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