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Need increases at the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank

The food bank is among local charities that receive help from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund
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Bev Elder, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, which benefits from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. TYSON ELDER

The impact of rising prices is felt among people heading to the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, which is seeing more working parents having a ­difficult time covering expenses.

They are “doing the best they can but just don’t have enough for food,” Bev Elder, food bank executive director at 9586 Fifth St. in Sidney, said Tuesday.

People who have fled to Canada from Syria and Ukraine have boosted demand at the food bank. More seniors are coming to the food bank because when they lose a partner, they might lose a pension or part of one, she said.

“We have a lot of singles,” she said. “That’s our biggest number out here. It’s not cheap to live on the Peninsula.”

The food bank is among local charities that receive help from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. The fund helps the food bank buy healthy food for 320 to 340 households, representing up to 1,200 individuals, each month.

“One of the biggest things we are trying to do is get more nutritious food to people,” Elder said. This includes fruits and vegetables and things such as peanut butter.

The food bank also supports Peninsula schools by providing items for breakfast and lunch. Some schools say 40 to 50 children per day need this food, she said. About 250 students are helped a week.

Yogurt, sliced cheese, bagels, bread, oranges, bananas, apples and more all go to schools. The food bank buys granola bars by the case to hand out to whoever needs them. Students can also take them home in case there is no food for dinner.

The food bank met with a nutritionist who said kids don’t learn if they don’t eat, she said.

When students are hungry, it can be difficult to them to pay attention in class. “In the last couple of years we have really stepped up [to see] what we can help with.”

Food bank drivers deliver to schools once a week, she said.

The food bank is supported by three employees and up to 40 volunteers. Every day five to six volunteers come to the food bank, some working two shifts, to help sustain the organization.

HOW TO DONATE TO THE TIMES COLONIST CHRISTMAS FUND

The Times Colonist Christmas Fund has raised about $106,000 so far this holiday season thanks to donations large and small from readers.

You can donate by going to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund fundraising page via ­timescolonist.com/donate.

The site is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.

Or mail a cheque to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 201-655 Tyee Road, Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.

You can also use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: letters@timescolonist.com

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