Christmas is over and now food banks across the province are struggling to keep food on their shelves. But this month there are a couple of local organizations in Brandon looking to give their community food bank a helping hand.
“During the Christmas season, we get a lot of help, but following Christmas we have to remind the community that people eat 12 months a year,” Samaritan House Ministries Food Bank executive director Marla Somersall said.
“This helps remind people come January, when we’re all paying our Christmas bills, that there are still folks that need food year round.”
Last year alone, the Samaritan House Ministries Food Bank delivered nearly 15,000 food hampers, Somersall said, and over the past three years, the demand for food hampers has continued to increase by 1,000 each year.
“Most places are up across the province,” she said.
“We’re not seeing it turn around, so it just continues to be a concern.”
To help ease increasing demands, credit unions across Brandon are banding together throughout the month of January to collect non-perishable food items for the local food bank. Crocus, Sunrise, Vanguard and Westoba credit unions are encouraging their members, and the general public, to drop in at any of their nine branch locations and donate.
Somersall said they are always looking for more items such as canned stew, whole-grain pasta and rice, beans, soups, canned vegetables and sugar-free canned fruit.
“Protein items are always a priority along with nutritious food,” she said.
This is the third year that credit unions in Brandon have collected for the local food bank.
Westoba Credit Union acting CEO Randy Brown said they are hoping this will be their most successful year yet.
“There’s always a need and certainly the food bank and other organizations get some good publicity leading up to Christmas but often after Christmas donations fall back, but the need is still there,” Brown said.
“It’s a need that’s growing instead of going away.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 5, 2013