One-bag challenge spreads

The one-bag challenge is spreading far and wide.

It started in Kelowna with Mayor Colin Basran dropping off a bag of groceries at the Okanagan Community Food Bank and challenging five others.

During the past 10 days, the challenge has begun to break out of the Okanagan and spread across Canada.

Jim Belshaw, with the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Club, says the club has challenged the 300 Rotary clubs across Canada to fill a grocery bag for every member and drop it off at their local food bank.

Belshaw took the lead and dropped off a van full of food Friday at the Kelowna food bank.

"We support the Kelowna food bank year round, but sometimes they need a push," said Belshaw.

He said he'll soon be in touch with Rotary clubs in Ottawa to issue the challenge.  

"Hopefully, it will just fill in from coast to coast."

Central Okanagan Community Food Bank executive director Lenetta Parry said she's already seen the campaign spread through social media to Prince George, the Fraser Valley, Castelgar, Red Deer, Alta., and even parts of Saskatchewan.

"We're so grateful to the community for embracing this campaign," she said.

In 10 days, about 24,000 pounds of food has been collected. However, Parry says the food bank distributes 7,000 pounds of food each day.

Meanwhile, if it's feast at the Okanagan Community Food Bank, it's famine at the Salvation Army.

The Sally Ann says donations at its Kelowna food bank are at an all time low.

“The downtown food bank is the first place to go for help, we are the next stop when that food just doesn’t quite make it. We often support the same individuals and families,” said Sonia Withers, community outreach co-ordinator.

There has been a significant increase in people using the Salvation Army’s resources due to rising food prices, cost of living and job challenges, she added. 

“We are all seeing an increase in need, hence all agencies' supplies are running out faster.”

The biggest needs are for basic staples: cereals, pastas, canned goods, canned proteins, beans, bottled drinks, cases of water, toilet paper, and feminine products.

Donations can be made to the Salvation Army Central Okanagan online or in person at 1480 Sutherland Ave.

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