I've filled hampers at our local foodbank for almost three years, and there we see a lot of generosity, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately there are still a lot of misconceptions about what can be donated and what is in demand. Even with the overwhelming donations, the foodbank still has to purchase food to meet their basic needs, not because we do not have enough: because we have a glut of certain things and a lack of others.
If you've considered foodbank donations during the holidays, there are some things you deserve to know:
- Next to your time, the most valuable form a donation can take is money - To my knowledge, every foodbank has to purchase some of the goods they provide. Foodbanks purchase certain foods to fill gaps in donated goods, ensuring their clients receive the same amount and diversity of foods in their hamper. Funding is hard to come by for these programs, and private donations come with additional freedoms (no stipulations and reporting requirements). Furthermore, foodbanks can often put your money to better use than you: many receive discounts for goods purchased at local stores.
- Fresh produce will in fact be well received, on site - Perishable goods are perfectly acceptable donations, provided you bring them directly to the foodbank. Fresh foods are standard in hampers, and our foodbank has coolers and freezers to preserve them. These are some of the few goods our foodbank consistently spends money on.
- Hampers often contain more than just food - Our foodbank also gives (on request) personal hygiene products, diapers and baby care items, toilet paper, even dog & cat food.
- You carry no liability for the goods you donate - BC's Food Donor Encouragement Act protects donors from liability as they are acting in good faith when donating food, this includes businesses. Clients always have the choice to take or leave expired goods.
I'd encourage any individual, class, team, office or otherwise considering a donation or drive to be in touch with their local foodbank first, to see what is in most need. If you live in Kimberley, here are the finer details:
- Location & Hours - 340 Leadenhall Street (and Wallinger). Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am - 3 pm. Donations accepted anytime.
- Fresh Produce Purchased for Regular Hampers - onions, carrots, potatoes, apples, oranges.
- Other Not-Often Donated & Much Needed Non-perishables - peanut butter, jam, cheez whiz, canned tomatoes, spaghetti & macaroni, canned fish, canned fruit & vegetables, pancake mix & syrup; flour, oats, rice and sugar; low sugar cereals, granola bars.
- Additional Fresh Produce Purchased for Christmas Hampers - potatoes (5 lb bags), turnips, cucumber, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, mandarin oranges (boxes), bananas, pears.
2016 Christmas hamper donations will be received until December 9th, call before to arrange drop-off - 250.427.5522.
Thanks for giving, and happy holidays!