By David F. Rooney
What are you giving this year? Oh, there’s no need to spill the beans on that necklace for the wife or the toys and electronics you’re giving the kids. No. I’m not interested in that. But I am curious to learn if you feel compassion for those in need at this time of year or whether you tend towards the miserly… like Ebenezer Scrooge.
Presuming you don’t want to come off as this year’s Grinch there are a number of different ways you can help our needy local families and individuals get through this marvellous-but-often-so-difficult season. And the need is very real. Last year the food bank provided food for 150 adults and 35 children each week. During the Christmas season alone, it provided more than 195 hampers to local families and individuals — many of them seniors. These are not strangers or visiting ski bums. They’re our neighbours, friends and families.
“Every penny we use to put food into our hampers comes from our community,” says Patti Larson, Community Connections’ manager of outreach services. “Food Banks do not receive any government funding.”
With that in mind, why not help the people in our community who really need assistance? Here are some ways you can do that:
Cash is King — you, your family, business or your non-profit group can make a cash donation to the Community Connections Food Bank;
Give when you buy — Cooper’s, Southside and Pharmasave all have partnerships with the Food Bank. If you’ve got money and you’re spending a hundred or two on Christmas groceries what’re an extra $2? It’s less than a latte at The Modern or Sangha Bean but it will, when lots of people decide to automatically contribute a Toonie. The Food Bank needs $100,000 to make its nut each year so those Toons can really help. (It’s a fantasy, of course, but imagine what would happen if every resident of our 7,500 city kicked in a measly $10.) Alternatively, you can purchase a gift bag full of food at Cooper’s.
Pick a kid off the Angel Tree — Every year bank staff hang paper ornaments representing local children. Supporters then pick the child or children they’d like to purchase appropriate presents for this Christmas.
Let CPR Holiday Train move you — This annual event is a real crowd-pleaser. The Holiday Train will be in Revelstoke on Wednesday, December 14, at 2:45 pm at the CP Yard on Victoria Road adjacent to CPR parking lot. There will be musical entertainment by Valdy and Tracey Brown and be sure to bring an appetite. The firefighters will cook up hot dogs and hot chocolate available by donation to the Food Bank. And don’t forget to bring some non-perishable food items, too.
Don’t be shy… take the direct approach — The Christmas Hamper Depot downstairs at the Royal Canadian Legion is now open Monday through Friday from 10 am until 3 pm and, on Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm until December 23. You can drop by with your welcome contributions. Here’s a list of things the Food Bank volunteers really need: cans of tuna, salmon, ham and other meats; pasta; pasta sauce and tomatoes; chunky soups; meals in a tin (i.e. stew); breakfast cereals; fruit juice; canned vegetables and fruit; canned milk; peanut butter and jam; baby food and cereal; toiletries such as toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo and soap; laundry detergent and; dry or canned pet food. Other items that would be ideal for Christmas Hampers include: new unwrapped toys, books and games; gift boxes of cookies, tea or coffee, specialty foods; calendars, magazines, notepads, pens; candles, napkins, kitchen towels; gloves, scarves, socks; blankets, backpacks, movie bucks and; gift certificates from any local store.
For more information please call Patti Larson at 250-837-2920, extension 28.