Thanks to the efforts of the Williams Lake Fire Department and the generosity of lakecity residents, almost three months of food was donated to the Salvation Army Food Bank this week.
Every year since 2010 the Williams Lake Fire Department has held its Christmas in July Food Drive to help raise food and money from the community from the salvation army. During the last week or so of July, firefighters go door to door across the lakecity picking up donations and collecting them in the fire hall.
Assistant fire chief Rob Warnock said that this food drive has grown every year since its inception and that 2019 was no exception. In fact, he said it was probably one of the best years they’ve ever had for collecting food.
“We did very well this year. It just seems to get bigger and bigger for us. It’s great,” Warnock said. “You’re probably looking at four full pickup loads here (in the fire hall.”
The Salvation Army and groups like them end up helping the people in our community who can’t help themselves, Warnock said, which makes food drives like the fire department’s an important way to give a hand to those who truly need it. If anyone wishes to still donate food, he said they can drop it off at the fire department and they’ll ensure it will get to the Salvation Army.
In addition to the food, Warnock also presented the Salvation Army a check for $616 made up of cash donations residents gave them in place of food. Warnock would like to thank everyone who donated and helped make this effort a success this year.
This donation was welcomed warmly by the Salvation Army, including by Tamara Robinson, director of family services and community outreach. The Christmas in July Food Drive is one of their biggest annual contributions to their food bank, Robinson said, and comes at an important time for them. Generally, Robinson said, donations to the food bank slow down around the summertime, despite the fact they’re still feeding the same amount of people year-round.
After all was said and done, Robinson said that 3,075.2 pounds of food exactly ended up being added to their shelves after this year’s food drive.
“It’s such a wonderful amount of food. A lot of the real staples that we really are always crying for I see a lot of them are here so that’s absolutely fantastic,” Robinson said. “The amount of food that’s here it would definitely be about three months worth or so.”
Thanks to this Robinson will now be able to spend more of her food budget on fresh foods like produce and meat, further enhancing the quality of life for the people the Salvation Army helps. This is especially important as Robinson said they’ve been busier this year as they assist families affected by the recent mill layoffs and mine closures in the area.
So far in 2019, the Salvation Army has served over 15,000 meals from their soup kitchen, for a cost of around $170,000, with their drop-in centre receiving over 11,000 visits so far. Overall they’re quite busy, Robinson said and appreciate any help from the community they receive to help share hope with the community.
“Thank you so much to WLFD for going out and collecting food and also to the city of Williams Lake for all the hard-working people that took the time to empty their shelves and make extra purposes for us, it’s really appreciated.”