Food bank readies for donation showdown

The main thing to bear in mind about the annual Great Canadian Food Fight is that everybody wins.

The friendly competition brings food banks from around the country together to see which one can collect the most food and monetary donations in a 48-hour period.

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For Victoria’s Mustard Seed Food Bank, the clock starts Thursday at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony at the Bay Centre. Students from Dunsmuir Middle School will be delivering a large food donation, while Safeway, Country Grocer and Tru Value Foods will show off the special food-related displays.

The Mustard Seed’s Brent Palmer said donations from the Food Fight have considerable impact on the Queens Avenue agency during the rest of the year. He said thousands depend on the food bank each month.

“In my opinion, this is the Christmas kickoff. There’s no other way to describe it,” Palmer said. “From now until Christmas, we have a responsibility to feed a very, very large family of 7,000 people, so along with that goes a lot of product to purchase.”

The reigning Food Fight champion is the Regina Food Bank, which brought in more than 99,300 kilograms of food in 2012. Victorians generated close to 45,000 kilograms.

The WHL’s Victoria Royals hosted the first event to support the 2013 Food Fight this week at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. Proceeds from 50/50 sales at Wednesday night’s game went to the Food Fight coffers, and the crowd was encouraged to make donations. On Friday, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce will show its support with a noon celebrity pie-throwing event.

Food Fight donations can be made at most grocery stores, the Bay Centre, Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, Ogden Point and the Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Saanich fire departments.

“There’s a lots of options open to people to donate,” Palmer said. “What we’re trying to do is to be a little bit more localized within people’s neighbourhoods.”

The Food Fight wraps up Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Bay Centre. Saturday activities include a noon to 4 p.m. family day at Save-on-Food Memorial Centre, organized by the Braefoot Community Association.

Money can be donated online at mustardseed.ca.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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