Trina Jiggins, the Salvation Army Food Bank co-ordinator, said the food bank is very low on non-perishable donations due to an increase of membership. — Lauren Collins photo

Parksville-Qualicum Beach food bank faces severe shortage

Area post offices to kick off food drive Monday

With the Salvation Army helping 152 members more than it had at this time last year, some of the items are starting to run low.

Food bank co-ordinator Trina Jiggins said with the substantial increase, it’s been hard to keep up.

“Last year we were servicing 400 people a month, now that we have this healthy choices program with Thrifty Foods, our numbers have jumped to 552,” said Jiggins. “There are more people that are accessing our food bank because we have healthier choices.”

The post offices in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Nanoose Bay will be doing their part to address the shortage with a food drive beginning Monday, she said. Canada Post staff will be dropping off a list of items needed in mailboxes. Residents can leave the items in the mailbox and the post office will pick them up.

Jiggins said it seems like people only think about the Salvation Army at Christmas time.

“Then our donations really drop off in July,” she said. “It’s not unusual that we’re running out of food now, but our numbers are up 152 members. That, coupled with not having anything, is kind of a dangerous position.”

While Jiggins said it is common for donations to drop in the summer months, the supply is uncharacteristicly low.

“I’ve never seen it with the low stock that we have now with the amount of people that we’re feeding. It’s kind of scary.”

Jiggins said the growing client base is due to a number of reasons.

“There are more families coming in because of the vegetables. There’s more people from Alberta that are now running out of their savings and then there’s people that are having tragedies going on too,” said Jiggins, adding that the food bank has helped about 90 per cent of the Ocean Terrace fire victims.

What the food bank needs, Jiggins said, is non-perishables and anything rich in protein. Jiggins said some of the items the food bank needs include canned meat, canned fish, peanut butter, canned vegetables, pancake mix, juice, pasta sauce and canned fruit.

However, Jiggins said, they haven’t been turning people away because of the lack of items.

“We believe that if we have a need, it will be supplied. Our community has supported us greatly in the past, so we’re just hoping that people will respond to knowing that we’re in need of donations right now.”

For more information on how to donate to the food bank, visit www.parksvillesalvationarmy.ca or call 250-248-8794.