View Royal resident Audrey Van Bruchem grabs items from the shelves of the Goldstream Food Bank while building hampers last week.

Langford food bank relies on community

Surge of donations helps stock dwindling shelves for West Shore residents

A decline in monetary donations over the summer months has left the shelves of the Goldstream Food Bank looking rather barren.

“It was worse than usual,” said Gayle Ireland, president of the Goldstream Food Bank. She said while donations are expected to be sparse in the summer months, this year’s were much lower than expected.

But a recent surge in donations has helped the society push forward and continue to help West Shore residents. One of those large donations came from the Langford branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, which donated $5,000 to the Goldstream Food Bank Society and $3,500 to the Westshore Christmas Hamper Fund Society.

“It’s a blessing. It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Ireland said, adding they would probably put the donation to good use in the new year to stock the shelves. “It will allow us to purchase a lot of food.”

The Goldstream Food Bank Society, a registered charity, has a staff entirely made up of volunteers that receive no monetary stipends or allowances. The society’s facilities are housed in the basement of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91, 761 Station Ave. in Langford, and supports residents of View Royal, Langford, Colwood, Highlands and Metchosin. The demand for their hampers remains high throughout the year.

Terri Orser, Branch 91 vice-president, said the Food Bank helps “so many people in our community that are less fortunate.” She noted that the Legion likes to support them because they are not only attached (physically) to the legion but also support a number of veterans. She said the Christmas Hamper Fund provides holiday hampers for veterans in supported housing.

Orser said Branch 91 raises money throughout the year to donate through 50/50 sales and meat draw raffles. They like to make a donation at this time of year, as both societies are ramping up for the holiday season and demand in the new year.

The Food Bank Society is usually open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the first three weeks of the month to provide food hampers but during the month of November, they are open every week. In December, the Westshore Christmas Hamper Fund Society takes over operations and provides hampers for the month. While they are two different societies that operate very differently, they are run by the same core group of volunteers

“It’s a different mission, a different society, but the same people,” Ireland said, adding they also get a surge of volunteers from local businesses to help with the Christmas hampers. “We just switch hats Dec. 1.”

While the Food Bank budgets and carefully plans to meet regular needs, the Christmas Hamper Fund operates a little differently by predicting how many hampers it will need over the holiday, stocks them and then pays for them in the new year. “You hope the money comes in and it always does,” Ireland said.

Ireland said recent donations from Thanksgiving food drives by the Juan de Fuca Junior Hockey League Association and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints saw “thousands of pounds of groceries” also help stock the food bank’s shelves. She noted that food drives from Spencer middle school and the Real Canadian Superstore, along with other fundraisers, also went a long way in supporting the food bank.

“It’s the citizens and small businesses that keep us going,” she said.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Playground a fitting tribute to Sarah Beckett

West Shore Rotary sells bricks to raise funds for playground equipment

Bike to Work Week officially kicks off

Organizers calling current cycling conditions the perfect storm

Sunny with a high of 22 C for Monday

Plus your weekly forecast

Greater Victoria records a drop in EI recipients

2,140 received regular EI benefits in March 2019, a drop of 3.2 per cent

Panorama Rec serves top junior tennis tournament

160 boys and 94 girls, from 14 countries compete June 1–8 in ITF Championships

WATCH: Thousands enjoy sunshine at second annual Village Block Party

Cook Street filled with local food, music and more

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read