The need for families was up this year in the Lower Similkameen according to those that help run the annual hamper program and food bank.
Miriam Leslie, of the Salvation Army who works in conjunction with volunteers that run the monthly Keremeos-Cawston food bank, said 128 individuals or couples and about 20 families received hampers this year.
“Usually the families are helped through the Cawston Store. They sponsor them but there was too many families this year so we helped out,” she said.
She noted about 20 families had hampers filled by the Cawston Store in addition to the 20 family hampers filled by food bank/Salvation Army.
“I think it’s been good that we’ve partnered with the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society to have people sign up. There were people last year that went to sign up for the hampers that didn’t even know there was a regular food bank day each month. They didn’t know the food bank existed in Cawston, so I think the hamper program is helping promote awareness that people can go there if they do need help,” she said.
The hampers were delivered Dec. 13 and included a variety of food items from everything needed for a Christmas meal and some festive extras to other food items that could be used throughout the month.
The family hampers also included toys for children in the household.
“It depends on the size of the hamper what goes in it. Every hamper has enough for a nice Christmas meal but we moved away from providing meat. Some people are vegetarian so we decided to give gift cards to the Cawston Store. We like to support local and the Cawston Store is such a big supporter of this,” she said.
Leslie said items are brought in from the Salvation Army in Penticton to help fill the hampers and to keep shelves stocked for regular food bank days.
Those looking to donate to the food bank can do so at Valley First or contact the food bank.
“We just want to say a thank you to the community and especially a thank you to Ingrid and her crew. They are there every month and put in long hours. She’s our Christmas angel all year round,” she said.
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