West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s (WKFR) 23rd annual food drive for the Central Okanagan Food Bank will be seeing some changes this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the last 22 years, WKFR fire chief Jason Brolund said firefighters have gone door to door in West Kelowna neighbourhoods to collect food donations but in order to keep the community, and emergency crews safe, they decided to make some changes this year.
Brolund said crews at each of the four fire halls in the city have decorated and made space at their stations for residents to come and drop off their donations at a convenient time.
“With COVID being upon us and worsening, we had to look at a different way to do the food drive this year,” Brolund said.
“That’s driven by my job to keep the firefighters safe so that they are able to respond to fires and other emergencies.”
Brolund said residents won’t miss the drop-off bins.
“They’re shipping containers that have all been decorated for Christmas, so it’ll be well-lit and people will know exactly where to bring the food.”
“The fire halls actually had the challenge to see who was able to best decorate their bin,” he said.
Brolund said he hopes that while families are out looking at Christmas lights in their neighbourhoods, that they stop by the local fire hall not only to look at the lights but also to drop off some food.
Central Okanagan Food Bank chief development officer Tammie Watson said she expects the demand for their services will increase as the holiday season rolls around.
“There’s a lot of need right now. We’re anticipating about 2,500 Christmas hampers will be needed this year for Kelowna and West Kelowna residents. We provided just over 1,800 last year, so that’s a significant increase as well,” she said in a previous interview with Black Press Media.
Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
- Station 31 – 3651 Old Okanagan Highway
- Station 32 – 2708 Olalla Road
- Station 33 – 1805 Westlake Road
- Station 34 – 3399 Gates Road
All donations from the WKFR food drive will be delivered to the Central Okanagan Food Bank. The food drive will run from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15.