Following the conclusion of the Swan City Rotary Community Food Bank Drive, which raised in excess of $100,000 for the Salvation Army food bank, the team is looking to get one step ahead of the upcoming holiday season.
Captain Peter Kim says, despite the ongoing challenges brought about through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he is optimistic over the positive response seen thus far from the local community in stepping forward to do their part helping those in need.
“I’m really excited about the results, I really appreciate the community still coming together even in light of COVID-19 and the restrictions. Even though we couldn’t do a physical food drive, we felt the support of the community through our virtual food drive this year.”
“Anything that supports the food bank helps us throughout the year. What we raised through the virtual food drive will definitely help us out through Christmas with the hampers that we need to support families,” he says.
Kim adds a large part of the annual drives is not simply just about collecting donations, especially now that their campaign format has changed so drastically to adjust to the times.
“We realized that building community is also part of the food drive. It’s not just about collecting food but it is about building community and we realized that we can still do that online as well,” he says.
Despite the optimism, it’s not all sunshine and fully stocked shelves. Kim says the food bank will have enough to get through the Christmas season, but suddenly a drive that once provided for “a good chunk of the year,” has fallen noticeably short.
What we’ve found this year because of the restrictions, there were [fewer] donations going into the bins at grocery stores, and this is why we needed more funds and more money to ensure our stocks are adequate. The supply is going down and the demand is increasing so we need help this year.”
“We do have enough for Christmas and we’re still hoping for more support, especially when we come to our Christmas kettles and our mailers,” he says.
The current plan for the Salvation Army Christmas kettles is still to see them set up in most of the usual locations. Kim says they lost two locations this year, but will otherwise set up with some notable changes.
“We’re no longer going to hand out candy canes or hand out calendars this year, but we are going to make sure that all of our volunteers have the proper PPE.”
“We know that our previous lists of volunteers have been predominately seniors, so we’re looking for a new generation of people to help out with our kettle campaign this year, says Kim.
The Salvation Army is also encouraging the community to mail in donations when possible.