For the second straight year, the Estevan Salvation Army is hosting a late spring food drive to fill the food bank's shelves prior to the summer months.
Lieutenant Brian Bobolo said the Pre-vacation Fill the Bank Food Drive started on June 9, and will continue until the end of this month. The food bank's shelves are about 30 per cent capacity, he said, and the summer months typically put a lot of strain on the food bank.
“We are in need of a great many things in order to help us fill our food hampers when our clients come to access services at the food bank,” said Bobolo. “We are low on pretty much everything, except for soup.”
Their coffee and tea stocks are virtually depleted, he said. And they always need staples like canned fruit, peanut butter, instant potatoes and stove-top meals, such as Hamburger Helper.
“We're a little nervous about our ability to keep up with the demand throughout the summer, and leading up to the Canada Post food drive in September,” said Bobolo.
They can also use cash, he said. People who donate money will receive a receipt for income tax purposes. Cash is used to purchase fresh items in the hampers, including fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products.
Demand has been pretty steady this year, he said, and it has been slightly higher than in the first five months of 2013.
“Come the summer, there is a bit of a spike each year,” said Bobolo. “That is largely due to the fact that there are new people coming into the community.”
People are arriving in Estevan throughout the year to find work, Bobolo said. But those numbers increase during the warm, summer months.
“They come without resources, and it takes two to three weeks to get that first paycheque,” said Bobolo. “So they need help.”
Their donor base shrinks in July and August, too, because people leave town for summer holidays.
“We're appealing to them … to come and consider dropping off a donation before they head off on vacation,” said Bobolo.
Food drives like this should be a cause for celebration in the community, Bobolo said, because it shows the commitment of local residents to others in Estevan.
Last year's pre-summer food drive fetched about 2,300 pounds of food, and another $2,000 in cash donations. So not only did it make sense to have a food drive this year, but Bobolo expects that it will become an annual tradition in Estevan.