St. Nick and the View Royal fire department spread some holiday cheer and collected donations for the Goldstream Food Bank on Saturday. The community raised $3

St. Nick and the View Royal fire department spread some holiday cheer and collected donations for the Goldstream Food Bank on Saturday. The community raised $3

Fire departments, West Shore residents a big help for food bank

Influx of food donated from community helps fill Goldstream Food Bank’s shelves after busy December.

The Goldstream Food Bank’s shelves are a little fuller following generous donations from West Shore residents through their local fire departments.

Over the weekend, the Colwood and View Royal fire departments dropped off the items, and cash, they received from West Shore residents, replenishing shelves that had become a bit sparse after a busy holiday season.

View Royal held its food drive on Saturday, raising $3,000 in donations and completely filling a trailer with non-perishable items for the food bank.

“We had over 40 members turn out for the event (and) the community was great, everybody knew what was going on,” said Doug Chamberlain, president of the View Royal Fire Association.

Firefighters, along with a special guest from the North Pole, were only supposed to collect food until 2 p.m., but the overwhelming response extended that timeline by a couple of hours.

Colwood fire’s ‘Santa Go- Round’ toured the neighbourhood on Sunday, picking up enough food items to fill two pickup trucks and $1,256 in donations.

Thw Metchosin and Highlands departments have already dropped off food donations from their communities, while Langford’s department will hold its drive on Christmas Eve.

While View Royal might have led the weekend’s haul in what’s become a friendly annual competition amongst the departments, food bank volunteer Karen Birtwistle was quick to commend Colwood for the efficiency with which it packed up the donated food.

“They both did phenomenally well, especially with the weather that they were fighting,” she said, noting the wet and chilly weekend temperatures.

The influx of food and cash comes at the perfect time for the food bank, whose plentiful shelves have taken a significant hit during a busy December of Christmas hampers.

“When I was in there (Tuesday) it was unbelievable the spaces and the gaps on those shelves,” said Gayle Ireland, the food bank’s president.

“This wealth that’s come in through the residents and delivered from the fire rescue (departments) is going to fill all of those spaces and give us some of the nice, unique food products. We buy the basics, but it’s fantastic to get the extras.”

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com