Kurt Barnier of the North Saanich Fire Fighters Association (left, top) and Stacy Lee of the Central Saanich Firefighters Association (right, top) join Kirk Tamburino and Rick Toogood of the Sidney Volunteer Firefighters Association outside the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich Peninsula firefighters look to douse hunger with annual food drive

The Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive happens Saturday

Firefighters from departments across the Saanich Peninsula will join efforts Saturday during the Peninsula Firefighters Christmas Food Drive.

Firefighters from Central Saanich Fire Department, North Saanich Fire Department and Sidney Volunteer Fire Department will be in the area collecting cash and non-perishable food items for the Saanich Peninsula Lions Foodbank in what amounts to a massive pickup initiative.

Residents who want to donate but won’t home can leave their donation curbside marked with Peninsula Fire Fighters Food Drive (PFFD).

“Unfortunately, there is a need for us to do it because so many people go without,” said Brian Thomas of North Saanich fire. “We recognize and see that need, and do what we can. It’s in our blood. We love to give back to the community that we live in and it is really rewarding to do that.”

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Saturday’s event marks the fourth time that the three departments have joined hands after it had started in North Saanich almost two decades ago.

“It started at North Saanich, but it has grown from there,” said Thomas. “Our ultimate goal is to fill the shelves at the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank. We wish we didn’t have to do this, but there are so many people in our community who and there seem to be more and more.”

Bev Elder, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Food Bank, said Saturday’s food drive is very important because it will completely fill the shelves at the food bank.

Last year, the three departments collected the equivalent of 22 palettes of food, she said. “That will be probably last for four months,” she said.

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Elder also appreciates the sense of community that the three departments signal by working together.

Members of the three departments will hit the road at different times. Central Saanich’s food drive will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. North Saanich will collect from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. while Sidney’s firefighters will be collecting between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Cash or cheque donations should be made payable to the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank.

The departments also continue to collect at their respective stations prior to Saturday. Central Saanich residents can donate Central Saanich Fire Station No. 1 until Dec. 13 between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. North Saanich residents can donate at Wain Road fire hall until Dec. 13 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. while Sidney residents can donate at the Sidney fire hall until Dec. 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


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