Central Okanagan Food Bank prepares for Thanksgiving, needs food now

Help fill the shelves

Rob Gibson

The 13th annual BC Thanksgiving Food Drive is officially underway in the Central Okanagan.

Look for a brown bag or a door knocker hanger on your door. The province-wide initiative starts this week.

COFB director of revenue and development Trina Speiser says the fall usually brings an uptick in demand.

"Just because family finances usually spike in September with back-to-school fees, sports registrations, things like that. This year, it's particularly difficult because of the fires, of course."

Many people in the hospitality industry and migrant workers also felt the pinch because the wildfires disrupted their income.

"Typically, we serve around 6,500 a month, but in August of 2023, we served over 8,800."

Speiser says inflation has been hitting people hard and the COFB is looking for food items that have some shelf life, "like canned meat, tuna, peanut butter, baby formula is really hard to get right now chunky soups, rice, things like that."

Brown paper bags have been sent out across the Central Okanagan and organizers are hoping to get one million pounds of food donated across B.C. this year.

"Volunteers will go around and pick it up on the morning of Sept. 23 and then bring it back here for sorting."

There are other ways to donate as well, including donating at Kelowna Save On Foods stores between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. You can also donate online.

"We have two food-focused holidays coming up between now and the end of December and this is a time when people struggle with food insecurity because costs are so high. So we just really rely on this food drive to help us feed people," said Speiser.

The COFB is located at 2310 Enterprise Way, Kelowna and 3711 Elliot Road, West Kelowna.

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