The annual Saanichton Community Christmas event is returning to raise money for the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank.
The Saanichton Village Association is putting on the 19th addition on Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Right now our food bank is struggling for donations,” Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank operations manager Tyson Elder said. “It’s tough for everybody right now, and we are finding that more and more families are needing to use the food bank. Any donation that comes through our door is very impactful and gets to people right away.”
Elder says he believes donations will pick up heading into December. During that month, the food bank will be open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for donations.
“During Christmas, people are a lot more giving at the food bank. We live in a very generous community. They help us throughout the year, but the holidays are a big time for our community. As the season approaches, people really need the help and are hurting right now.”
Last year’s Saanichton Community Christmas event raised approximately $14,000 for the food bank.
“A big portion of that funding went to our Christmas hamper program which provides hampers for the holidays,” Elder said. “We did 400 households last year. That’s ranging from single people to families.”
The 2023 Christmas hamper distribution, is taking place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 18 to Dec. 20.
The food bank will be open for the first two weeks of December for regular hamper distribution, and Dec. 15 will be the final client hamper day. They will open again for regular food hamper distribution on Jan. 3.
The Saanichton Community Christmas event will include photos with Santa, a pancake breakfast, carriage rides, a Christmas tree trail and cookie decorating.
The photos with Santa and the pancake breakfast will be held at St. Mary’s Church.
The cookie decorating will take place at the Saanich Pioneer Society’s Log Cabin Museum, and the carriage rides will start at Central Saanich Municipal Hall. Those interested in the carriage rides must register at saanichtonvillage.com.
Families can walk through the village and collect the names of at least six of the horses hidden inside the Christmas trees or windows of local businesses for the Christmas tree trail.